The delay on the part of the State government in fixing State Advised Price (SAP) for sugarcane, the prevailing drought in the district, and the prolonged load shedding were among the issues discussed at the farmers’ grievances day meeting held here on Thursday.

Representatives of farmers’ organisations demanded the State government to announce the SAP immediately and provide compensation to farmers who have suffered huge loss due to monsoon failure. A.K. Rajendran, district president, Tamil Nadu Cane Farmers Association, demanded compensation for drought-affected farmers before Lok Sabha election .

M.A. Subramanian, District Revenue Officer, who presided over the meeting, said that district administration has already sent a report to the State government on the drought condition.

Mr. Rajendran complained that farmers could not operate their pumpsets due to load shedding and demanded uninterrupted power for at least six hours during day-time.

The Central government had fixed Rs. 2,100 per tonne as the Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) for cane. While the Uttar Pradesh government was offering Rs. 3,000 per tonne of cane, the Karnataka government had announced Rs. 400 in addition to the Central government price. Hence, Tamil Nadu government must offer an SAP of Rs. 3,500, he said.

P. Viswanathan, State president, Tamizhaga Yeri Matrum Atrupasana Vivasayigal Sangam, and R. Raja Chidambaram, State secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said that State government should have announced the SAP in October . Last year, the State offered Rs. 2,350 compared to Rs. 1,700 fixed by the Centre. They demanded the State to fix the SAP at Rs. 4,000 .

Mr. Viswanathan demanded construction of a check dam across Kallar River between Krishnapuram and Vembavur, which would help in improving the groundwater level and in recharging wells in Veppanthattai union, he said.

When he demanded proper implementation of wasteland development project by sanctioning loans for digging farm ponds, Mr. Subramanian said that the response from farmers for digging farm ponds has not been encouraging. R. Kanagasabai, joint director of agriculture (in-charge), said it was targeted to establish 1,000 farm ponds in the district and beneficiaries too were identified.

While work on 250 farm ponds had been completed, work on another 350 farm ponds was in progress. Cotton raised in about 50,000 acres has been hit by verticillium , and Rs.20, 000 per acre should be paid as compensation to the affected farmers, Mr. Raja Chidambaram said.