Farmers from Deivaseyalpuram and Vallanad areas in Srivaikuntam taluk have expressed concern over the delay in disbursal of drought relief, and alleged that officials have not properly assessed the damage to crops in the district due to drought last year.

At the farmers’ grievance redressal meeting held here on Thursday, K.P. Perumal, district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, requested Collector M. Ravikumar to take stock of the crop damage in drought-hit areas and disburse relief to the affected farmers.

He also sought action against Village Administrative Officers for, what he said, improper assessment of drought damage.

The Collector said the State government had allotted Rs.103 crore as drought relief for the farmers in the district.

The assistance was extended to most of the affected farmers, and only some were left out. Based on specific grievances, action would be taken to disburse relief to eligible farmers soon, he said.

U. Kaja Mydheen, a famer of Ettayapuram and secretary of the Southern Region of Rainfed Crop Farmers Association, sought the Agriculture Department officials to convene taluk-level meetings at regular intervals for redressal of farmers’ problems.

Mr. Mydheen also said there was a shortage of seeds and fertilizers, and the officials were lethargic in responding to the demands of the farmers.

At this point, Mr.Ravikumar asked for a reply from the Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ettayapuram. But the official was not present at the meeting.

Irked over his absence, the Collector sought an explanation from Joint Director (in-charge) of Agriculture Ponkathaperumal for the official’s absence.

Mr.Ponkathaperumal said despite communication, many officials failed to turn up for the meeting.

Aathi Narayanan, a farmer of Ayyanadaippu, said delays in maintenance works by the PWD officials in Korampallam dam would affect storage of rainwater. Mr. Ravikumar directed the officials to expedite the works.

M. Kanagaraj, Personal Assistant to Collector (Agriculture), and others were present.

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