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Updated: October 25, 2012 14:26 IST

Provide village-wise insurance cover in coastal areas: farmers

G. Sathyamoorthi
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RUNNING FOR COVER: With almost 2.5-lakh acre of paddy at stake it is imperative for the government to protect farmers. File Photo: B. Velankanni Raj
RUNNING FOR COVER: With almost 2.5-lakh acre of paddy at stake it is imperative for the government to protect farmers. File Photo: B. Velankanni Raj

Firka system of providing compensation for loss of crops ‘totally unworkable’

As northeast monsoon opens its innings with a big bang in Tamil Nadu, the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association has put forth its demand for a special insurance scheme for coastal farmers .

“Monsoon has set in at the right time. However, it is extremely difficult to judge the ferocity of the monsoon which could even turn into a cyclone lashing the coastal region. With almost 2.5-lakh acre of paddy area at stake , it is imperative for the government to safeguard farmers, most of them small and marginal, in areas such as Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam, Muthupet, and Mannargudi, said S.Ranganathan, general secretary of the association, to The Hindu.

The firka system adopted by insurance companies for providing compensation to loss of crops is “totally unworkable” in coastal areas as about 20 villages of the firka could be in upland and would have suffered zero loss while an equal number located in the coastal zone would have suffered complete devastation, but both sides might receive the same compensation which is unfair, Mr.Ranganathan contends. Instead, he pleads for “village-wise” insurance coverage.

He points out that flooding and drainage are the characteristic problems of monsoon season in the coastal belt “Though modernisation of drainage system was conceived at an estimate of Rs.1,000 crore to save the fields from flooding years ago, hardly anything has been done so far. The project cost has now escalated to more than Rs.5,200 crore.” The project would be able to save at least 30 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) to 40 tmcft.

But, unless the Cauvery dispute is settled, the World Bank will not extend the assistance for the project, he adds. “It is quite unfortunate that a dispute that arose in 1892 should drag on for 120 years with no solution in sight and not even international disputes drag on for so long,” he laments.

Mr.Ranganathan contends that the authorities should realise that management of crop in Cauvery delta is not an easy job.

“Though I would consider the current rains as a passing phase, farmers have to be extremely vigilant about the copious showers especially during the last week of November and first week of December. It was during December, Tsunami struck us”, he points out. Northeast monsoon is “destructive ” and “not productive ” like southwest monsoon.

Because of the rains, the paddy fields may not require any water for 10 to 15 days.

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