The Rs. 10-crore project will irrigate 50,000 acres of land, provide drinking water to 50 villages

Farmers of Ariyalur district made a fervent appeal to the State government to implement a barrage scheme across the Marudhayar river for the benefit of farmers in the district.

Raising the issue at the agriculturists’ grievances day here on Friday, P. Viswanathan, State president, Tamilaga Eri Matrum Aatrupasana Vivasayigal Sangham, R. Ulaganathan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangham, and P. Pichai Pillai of All India Farmers' Association, said the project has been hanging fire for almost 25 years.

“ The District Collector showed us the sketch of the project recently and assured us the project was very much in the offing. It should not be given up at any cost,” they pleaded.

The Rs. 10-crore project would irrigate at least 40,000 to 50,000 acres of land and provide drinking water to 40 to 50 villages. The objective was to store flood water to help replenish aquifers and improve groundwater level.

Mr. Viswanathan pleaded that all those waiting for years for power connection for their pump sets should be given at the earliest. Though Sukaran Eri has been irrigating villages such as Kamarasavalli, Nangur, Oriyur, Silupanur, Maathur, Thoothur, and Chettikuzhi in Ariyalur taluk to an extent of 2,000 hectares, there’s confusion among farmers whether the region formed part of the “delta”. The farmers had not received any drought relief so far. “Apart from clearing the confusion, the Collector should immediately initiate steps to get them drought relief,” he said.

Although farmers appreciated Collector M. Ravikumar for getting substantial funds for drought relief from the State government, almost every speaker at the meeting expressed concern over the failure of the administration to ensure payment of relief to all farmers who had suffered huge crop loss.

K. Nagarathinam of T. Pazhur wondered how a number of farmers including himself could be left out while those in the nearby villages could get the relief.

In order to avoid irregularities in the disbursement of relief, M. Viswanathan of the Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham urged the Collector to put up the list of beneficiaries at the offices of the respective village administrative officers. “This would help us identify bogus beneficiaries and ensure that genuinely hit farmers got the relief.”

S.Mani of Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Growers’ Association alleged that one of his neighbours who owned five acres was given a compensation of just Rs. 1,000 an acre. “What sort of an assessment is this and what is the rationale behind sanctioning such a small amount as compensation,” he wondered.

N. Jayachandran of Aandimadam appealed to the government to provide compensation to cashew farmers hit hard by drought. “We have not been able to get even 20 per cent yield,” he said.