Drought report already sent to government, says Collector

Even as representatives of farmers’ organisation raised the issue of the need to declare Pudukottai district as drought-hit and concomitant relief measures, Collector C.Manoharan said that he had already sent a report to the State government on the severe drought condition prevailing in the district.

Mr.Manoharan, who presided over the farmers’ grievances day meeting here on Friday, sought petitions and reports from the participants for being sent to the State government.

The participants also demanded the Collector to seek special funds for dredging water bodies and supply channels. S.Rajasekaran, former MLA (CPI-M), said that drought had left borewells bone dry. Ponnusamy of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam said that crops raised on more than 40,000 acres in Avudaiyarkovil taluk and in over 16,000 acres in Aranthangi and Manamelkudi blocks had withered away for want of water.

Large tracts of land has been deliberately left fallow by farmers due to monsoon failure; these lands too need to be factored in while assessing the extent of drought and relief, he said.

G.S.Dhanapathy, district chairman, Farmers Forum of India, suggested that district administration should seek special funds for dredging tanks and supply channels with thrust on 5,000 minor irrigation tanks that catered to the farming needs of ayacuts. Drought relief was not given to several farmers last year and hence proper care should be taken to provide relief to every affected farmer. Sankar, a farmer of Gandarvakottai, said that the prosperity and productivity of the neighbouring delta districts should not overshadow the plight of Pudukottai farmers. Pudukottai gets government’s attention only when crops fail in delta districts. The district administration should factor in the difference in yield between delta districts and Pudukottai while calculating relief, he said.

Murugesan of Poovathapatti sought term loans with adequate subsidy to benefit small and marginal farmers .