Chandy says government should take steps to procure paddy immediately
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has urged the Chief Minister to take steps to address the problems faced by farm workers in the wake of the unseasonal rain that has affected paddy cultivation.
In a letter to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Mr. Chandy said farm workers had been rendered jobless due to the unseasonal rain and the government should consider proposals to help them.
He said the government should take immediate steps to procure paddy from Kuttanad and any delay would totally destroy the harvested paddy. Though the Agriculture Minister has repeatedly stated that instructions had been given for procurement, the Civil Supplies Corporation has not yet started the process. Delay in payment of compensation would put farmers to further difficulties, he said.
Mr. Chandy said the crisis in the agriculture sector in Kuttanad was not caused by natural calamities alone.
Neerthada Nelvayal Samrakshna Samithi office-bearers P.C. Cyriac and Thomas Peeliyanikal had, while submitting a memorandum to the Chief Minister, pointed the issues faced by farmers in the area, particularly in relation to the use of harvesters.
He said the government should take the initiative to arrive at practical solutions that would facilitate the use of machines for harvest. The Agriculture Department should formulate proper norms in this regard instead of allowing political parties and their feeder organisations to gain leverage.
The government should take all steps possible to get the harvest of the remaining agriculture land going, including pumping in waterlogged areas and inducting harvesters to complete the operations.
He said vegetable crops in large tracts of land had also been destroyed in the unseasonal rains.
Experts have stated that cashew crop would also be affected, while the effect of the rain on pepper and coffee cultivators was yet to be estimated, he said.
He declared the UDF and the Congress party’s support to the government’s effort to ensure adequate financial assistance from the Centre to meet the crisis.