The former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has urged the State government to impress upon the Centre to announce a special package to bail out coconut growers who are in dire straits.

Detailing the problems being faced by the growers here on Saturday, he said drought had brought unexplained miseries to them with the wilting of roots. An approximate one-third of standing coconut crops were damaged.

“Waiver of loans taken by them to drill borewells will help the growers to some extent”, he said.

Expressing regret over “non-cooperation” of agriculture and horticulture departments, he appealed the government to extend cooperation to the Central Team headed by Horticulture Commissioner Gorakh Singh, which is touring the State to assess crop loss.

Mr. Gowda said that Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar sent the team, following his meeting with the latter in New Delhi recently.

Mr. Gowda also urged the government to constitute district-level committees to study the damage caused to areca growers too and send the report to the Centre to utilise the compensation package.

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