Farmers seek Rs.1 lakh relief per acre

Standing banana crops in parts of Tiruchi and Karur districts were damaged during the sharp spell of rain on Thursday evening.

Strong wind that accompanied the brief spell of rain mowed down banana trees in some places. Well grown banana trees, which were about to be harvested in a week to 4 weeks time, were uprooted in several places. Even trees, which were supported by bamboo poles, could not withstand the wind.

“Just 10 minutes of strong wind has taken away the 10-month old crop. It means that I cannot get back the return for our hard work and investment,” said M. Sivakumar, a farmer in Thiruchendurai village near here.

Standing banana crop in Vayalur, Somarasampettai, Malliyampathu and parts of Lalgudi were damaged, said Puliyur A.Nagarajan, president, Tamil Nadu Horticulture Crop Producers Association and urged the government to sanction Rs.1 lakh an acre as compensation to the affected farmers.

N. Pichaimani of Chinna Karuppur said that most of the farmers, who raised banana plantations in areas such as Kuzhumani, Jeeyapuram, Allur, Mekkudi, Kadiyakurichi, Pettavaithalai and Kulithalai, had been affected.

Sources in the Horticulture Department in Tiruchi said crop damage was reported in Manikandam and Andhanallur blocks in the district. An assessment on the extent of the damage was underway. However, the damage is not likely to be very extensive as nearly 70 per cent of banana crop raised in about 6,000 hectares in the district have already been harvested, they said. But many farmers estimate that an average of about 10 to 15 percent of standing crops have suffered damage due to the strong winds.

The area of coverage under banana in the district had come down by 3,000 hectares this year as many banana growers did no go for the crop owing to the drought conditions that prevailed last year.

Let up in rain

Meanwhile, there was a let up in the rainfall in the district on Friday. Marungapuri recorded the maximum of 60 mm of rainfall during the 24-hour period ending at 8.30 a.m. on Friday.

The rainfall recorded in other parts of the district during the same period were (in mm): Ponnaniyar Dam 42.50; Sirugudi 29; Upper Anicut and Kallakudi 23 each; Pulivalam 20; Navalurkuttapattu 17.30; Samayapuram and Devimangalam 14 each; Thuraiyur and Thathaiyengarpet 13 each and Tiruchi Junction 10.