Unveils comprehensive package for farmers of delta districts
A day after writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Cauvery issue, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday unveiled a comprehensive package for farmers of delta districts to help them raise the long-term samba crop, apart from announcing that the Mettur dam would be opened on September 17 for irrigation.
In view of the poor water availability, farmers will be encouraged to adopt methods such as direct sowing, community nurseries and the system of rice intensification (SRI).
Mechanisation will be promoted and agriculturists will be offered subsidies, both for the purchase and use of machines.
The package, costing Rs. 53.53 crore, is meant for the farmers in the districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tiruchi and Cuddalore.
The Chief Minister’s announcement follows her elaborate discussion with senior Ministers and officials on Thursday.
Explaining how the Central government’s refusal to advise the Karnataka government to release to Tamil Nadu its share of water and low storage in Mettur had affected the short-term kuruvai crop, the Chief Minister, in a statement, said that as three-phase power supply was being given for agricultural pumpsets for 12 hours, the short-term crop had been raised on 1.6 lakh acres. [Last year, the coverage was 3.47 lakh acres].
To motivate farmers to take to direct sowing for samba crop, a subsidy of Rs. 240 per acre would be given to them for ploughing. Initially, Rs. 2.4 crore would be set apart for this purpose.
The Agricultural Engineering Department (AED), which would procure 30 seed drills at a cost of Rs. 22.5 lakh, would give them to farmers on hire at 50 per cent concession. A sum of Rs. 10.8 lakh had been set apart for providing the seed drills on concession.
To tackle the problem of weed infestation, weedicide would be given to the farmers at 50 per cent cost.
It had been proposed to cover one lakh acres. Considering the unit cost of Rs. 400 per acre, the authorities would provide Rs. 200 per acre, entailing an expenditure of Rs. two crore to the government.
The system of rice intensification (SRI) would be taken up over 1.48 lakh acres in 384 villages of delta districts.
To farmers of these villages, laser land levellers would be made available at 50 per cent of the hiring charges. A sum of Rs. 15.12 lakh was earmarked.
High capacity tractors [of 65 horse power and more] would also be given at 50 per cent concessional rate, while farmers could avail themselves of 50 per cent subsidy for purchasing transplanting machines. The government allocated Rs. 1.02 crore and Rs. 2.53 crore for the purposes.
To enable the AED to purchase 30 such tractors and five transplanting machines, Rs. 3.15 crore was set apart.
The government also decided to spend Rs. 50 lakh for awareness generation about the new methods among farmers.