The members of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged a demonstration in front of the Head Post Office here on Wednesday to protest against the non-payment of the Central government's share of crop insurance for farmers.
Of the total 704 crore towards crop insurance, the State government’s share of Rs. 352 was cleared and the Centre’s share remained to be remitted. Central government has so far cleared Rs. 68 crore and the remaining funds were awaited.
S.K.G. Giridharan, leader of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam called for declaring Nagapattinam as a “natural disaster” prone district. In the last decade, the district was afflicted by natural disaster every year with 2005-06 as the only exception. With these natural defaults, the non-payment of crop insurance had aggravated the misery of farmers, he said.
According to Mr. Giridharan, while over Rs. 4,000 crore was cleared towards farm subsidies by the central government, its reticence on a negligible amount of Rs. 284 crore cast aspersions on its sincerity. Of the 36 firqas, barring six firqas all other firqas have received an amount of Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000 per acre. This went against the Chief Minister’s assurance of Rs. 8000 per acre to farmers, he said.
V. Subramainam, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said banks are lending loans to farmers against jewellery and for SHGs. He queried on the possibility of farmers living in poverty to mortgage jewellery that they do not possess. Further, even a single defaulter can swipe away the chances of an SHG to secure loans, he said.
The speakers protested against the non-availability of bank loans due to non-clearance of farm debts. Farmers, who had relied on the insurance funds to clear their outstanding loans and access fresh loans, were left in the lurch for non-clearance of the Centre’s share.
The demonstrators who courted arrest and were released later.
M. Subramaniam, G. Murugayyan, P. Kathamuthu, P. Chandran from Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam along with Naagai Maali, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front participated.