A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to disburse drought relief to all farmers in the eight Delta districts after removing the “anomalies and mistakes” in a G.O. of February 2013. Also, the drought relief should not include crop insurance sum.

The First Bench consisting of Acting Chief Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice M.Sathyanarayanan ordered notice to the State Government and the district Collectors concerned among others, returnable in two weeks.

In the petition, A.P.Kalyanasundaram of Arupathy in Nagapattinam district said he was an agriculturist. He was also the general secretary of the ‘Vivasayigal Sangam’ (farmers association.)

He submitted that due to monsoon failure in recent years, Tamil Nadu faced a severe drought situation. The farmers in the delta districts of Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Ariyalur, Karur, Cuddalore, Pudukottai and Tiruchirappalli suffered more due to Karnataka’ s stand on releasing Cauvery waters. Almost 10 lakh acres in the delta region alone suffered more than 75 per cent crop loss. In February last, the government came out with a relief package.

While appreciating the government for its gesture, Mr.Kalyanasundaram said there were mistakes in the assessment of crop loss, the area and the number of farmers affected. Further, there was an anomaly in the relief package since it mixed up the disaster relief with that of insurance relief which would lead to severe practical difficulties in the implementation of the relief scheme. The committee had not properly appreciated the ground level situation, he contended.

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