Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran has said that the State government will do all that was necessary to provide succour to paddy farmers of Kuttanad who were hit hard by the summer rain.

Talking to presspersons after visiting the affected paddy fields of Thakazhi, Ambalapuzha North, Punnapra North, Punnapra South, Nedumudi and Kainakary on Thursday, Mr. Sudhakaran said the damage was in different proportions in different polders. While in some places, paddy that was about to be harvested was damaged, in other places, paddy that had been harvested was submerged and had begun to sprout.

In some places, the ongoing harvesting process was affected with slush making it difficult for combine harvester machines to operate. In other fields, there was a severe shortage of harvester machines to start or complete the process.

Stating that the government would immediately do whatever was necessary to help the farmers, the Minister said he personally supported the farmers' demand for a higher compensation than the Rs.10,000 a hectare that was announced by the government.

“Their demand is justified and I am for a hike in the compensation. I will take this up with the government,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Sudhakaran said a major extent of the damage could have been avoided had the agriculture officials not waited till the last moment to make arrangements for combine harvesters, particularly in the backdrop of the experiences of previous years.

Stating that Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy was welcome to offer suggestions on helping the farmers, Mr. Sudhakaran said that Mr. Chandy, however, did not have the moral right to criticise the LDF government since the previous UDF government had failed to help farmers and it was during his tenure that 13 farmers had committed suicide in Alappuzha.

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