Milk production has decreased on account of foot-and-mouth disease, says Minister

The Assembly witnessed noisy scenes during the question hour on Tuesday over the payment of compensation for cattle that had died from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

The issue came up when Minister for Rural Development K.C. Joseph was replying to a question on milk production and availability raised by K.V. Abdul Khader and others. The Minister said milk production had decreased on account of the disease, and a shortage of 2 to 3 lakh litres of milk was being experienced daily.

A sum of Rs.40,000 was being paid jointly by the Dairy Development and the Animal Husbandry departments and Milma as compensation to the owners of each head of cattle that had died. “All those who are eligible will be given the money, and the government will keep its word,” Mr. Joseph said.

Not paid

The Opposition legislators were on their feet pointing out that money had not been paid to farmers in many districts. Speaker G. Karthikeyan’s efforts to go ahead with the proceedings did not succeed as the legislators insisted on a reply from the Minister on the compensation paid so far.

Amid the noisy scenes, Mr. Joseph said the compensation of Rs.40,000 for each head cattle was being paid by diverting funds even though there was no budget allocation.

The Minister said a relief package was needed, and all farmers would get assistance. However, the protests continued and the agitated legislators started moving to the front row and the well of the house.

Following this, Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan informed the members that a total of Rs.2.23 crore had been paid as compensation. “If paying compensation was a mistake, we are ready to take it back,” he said.

The Minister said the legislators who had applied had also been given the compensation.