‘Government could give us fodder subsidy amount directly’

Demands for a further increase in milk procurement price and sanction of compensation for crops damaged during last year’s drought and pleas for release of 3,000 of cusecs of water during non-Mettur season dominated the proceedings at the farmers’ grievances meeting held here on Friday.

Speaking on behalf of milk producers in the cooperative sector, N.Ganesan, joint secretary, Tamil Nadu Milk Producers Welfare Association, said although the State government has recently hiked the procurement price of milk by Rs.3 a litre, private milk producers were offering better price for farmers.

“Private dairies are offering Rs.27 a litre for cow’s milk while cooperative societies offer a maximum of Rs.23 for member-producers. If the situation continues, it will be very difficult for cooperative milk societies to remain competitive as milk producers will prefer to supply milk to the private diaries which are running well-knit network for procurement at villages. The government should hike the procurement price by Rs.10 for cow’s milk and Rs.15 for buffalo milk a litre,” said Mr.Ganesan.

Instead of giving fodder at subsidised rates, the government could give the subsidy amount directly to producers along with the procurement price, he suggested. He also urged the government to take steps to fill up staff vacancies in milk societies.

Collector Jayashree Muralidharan, in response to his complaint that officials in some societies were selling the subsidised fodder at a higher price, directed cooperative department officials to initiate stern action against guilty officials. A.Nagarajan, president, Tamil Nadu Horticulture Crop Producers Association, and R.Subramanian, deputy secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, urged the government to release 2,500 to 3,000 cusecs of water in the Cauvery River to meet the drinking water requirement of people and irrigation requirements of cash crops dependent on 17 irrigation canals during the Mettur closure period. They also urged the district authorities to take steps to prevent lift irrigation in Namakkal and Erode districts by disconnecting power supply during the non-Mettur season.

Farmers’ representatives also made a joint representation to the Collector demanding sanction of compensation to crop losses suffered by farmers due to drought last year. R.Raja Chidambaram, State Secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, and P.Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Eri and Attru Pasan Vivasayigal Sangam, drew the attention of the authorities to the slump in the price of small onions, causing huge losses to farmers in the district.

Mr.Raja Chidambaram demanded fixation of procurement price for small onions, while Mr.Viswanathan urged the authorities to prevent traders from charging commission for procurement from farmers.