‘Pressuring farmers to repay loans contradicts CM’s announcement’

Even as the high-level ministerial committee constituted by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa visited the parched district of Perambalur on Friday, farmers pleaded that they be given a relief of Rs.15, 000 per acre.

Speaking on behalf of the farmers at Cotton Research Station, Veppanthattai, Raja Chidambaram, State general secretary, Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham, said that when the entire farming community was wondering whether the Chief Minister was bothered only about the delta farmers, her announcement that all districts other than Chennai were drought-hit came as “manna from heaven”. “When the Chief Minister has announced that their loans would be rescheduled, it’s a contradiction to pressure farmers to repay their loans.” As April 14 is the last date for repayment, the State government should come out with an immediate solution .”

Mr.Raja Chidambaram wanted to know whether rescheduling of loans meant that the interest would be added to the principal.

O. Panneerselvam, Minister for Finance, who is heading the high-level committee, said the panel would convey the sentiments of farmers to the Chief Minister.

Visits Kulithalai

The team saw the drought condition in the Kulithalai region of Karur district. Ministers Natham R. Viswanathan, K.P. Munusamy, R. Vaithilingam, P. Damodaran, Thoppu R. Venkatachalam apart from Mr. Pannerselvam were joined by Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji, Kulithalai MLA A. Pappa Sundaram and Krishnarayapuram MLA S. Kamaraj.

Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association deputy secretary Kavandampatti R. Subramanian told the team that they could not get even drinking water. Pettaivaithalai Sugar Mill Cane Growers Welfare Association president K. Anbazhagan demanded six hours of three-phase power supply.