Agriculture Department begins disbursement of Chief Minister’s special package

Kuruvai paddy cultivation is expected to be taken up on 7,507 acres of land in filter point areas of the district this year.

The normal kuruvai area is 16,000 acres in the district. But given the poor storage in the Mettur reservoir and delay in release of water in the Cauvery, kuruvai paddy could be raised in only the filter point areas such as Lalgudi and Anbil this year.

On Friday, the Agriculture Department began distributing the special kuruvai package announced by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Apart from three-phase power supply for 12-hours a day, the package envisages distribution of bio-fertilizers, micronutrients, pipes and other inputs free of cost to farmers in filter point areas to help them raise the kuruvai crop.

In Tiruchi district, the inputs are to be given to 3,872 farmers in the filter point areas at an estimated cost of Rs. 32.31lakh. S. Damodaran, Minister for Agriculture, inaugurated the process at Lalgudi. T.P. Poonachi, Minister for Khadi and Village Industries, and R. Manoharan, chief whip, were present.

Mr. Damodaran said over one lakh acres was expected to be covered in Tamil Nadu under kuruvai paddy thanks to the package announced by the Chief Minister. He pointed out that the government had implemented a samba package last year and sanctioned compensation to drought-affected farmers. No other State had given compensation for drought, he said.

Sandeep Saxena, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, said kuruvai special package would be disbursed within 10 days. Since the water table had slumped at many places, the government was providing gypsum to overcome problems of salinity and alkalinity faced by farmers.

M. Rajendran, Director of Agriculture, said the government had allocated Rs. 18 crore for implementing the special kuruvai package. Although it was suggested that high-density polyethylene pipes (to help farmers pump water from borewells in neighbouring places) could be provided to farmers at 50 per cent subsidy, the Chief Minister ordered that the pipes be given free of cost.

Collector Jayashree Muralidharan appealed to farmers to switch over to organic farming to preserve the fertility of the soil.

Gururaj Singh, Joint Director of Agriculture, spoke.

As many as 2,136 farmers were given welfare assistance estimated at Rs. 90.28 lakh under the Scheme.