The members of the All India Kisan Sabha affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) staged road blockades throughout the district on Wednesday, demanding unmarked water supply for the tail-end and revocation of the turn system.
"Either the government should announce that the district is drought hit and compensate us and we would give up agriculture. Otherwise they should fulfil basic demands," said Giridharan, District Secretary, Tamizhagha Vivasyigal Sangam.
Demanding unconditional crop loans to farmers, the protesters called for revocation of conditionalities such as loans would be granted only for groups. According to V. Subramanian, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, "if loans are granted only for a group of 10 farmers, default on the part of even a single farmer will affect the chances of the rest of the following year." Likewise, loans provided based on the crop yield of the farmer should be stopped, he said.
The protesters slammed the scheme of cooperative banks that provide interest free crop loans for a period of up to eight months against jewellery. They stated that impoverished farmers do not have access to jewellery. They also demanded a shift from firqa-wise survey to village-wise survey for grant of crop insurance.
R. Bhaskar, Sub Divisional Officer, Public Works Department met the protesters and stated that the district administration has transmitted the information about the farmers’ displeasure with the turn system to the State government.
As of Wednesday, the turn system is on with about 4255 cusecs of water in the Vennar division and 8006 cusecs of water in the Cauvery division. The tail end that relies on water from the Vennar stands affected. Nagapattinam is in its fourth turn now and this will continue till the evening of September 25.
The decision regarding Wednesday’s protests in the district along with a charter of 11 demands was passed as a resolution at the 23rd district level meet of the farmers of CPI(M) on Saturday at Thirukkuvalai. The demands include insurance cover for cash crops and an independent agricultural marketing facility for cash crops.