United Democratic Front district chairman Victor T. Thomas has demanded that the State government enhance its compensation to Upper Kuttanad farmers, who lost their crops in untimely rain, from Rs.10,000 a hectare to Rs.50,000.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Thomas said the situation in Upper Kuttanad was similar to that in the previous year. The government had failed to provide relief to the affected farmers last year too, he alleged. This was a testimony to the Left Democratic Front government's anti-farmer policy, he alleged.

Though the government had decided to procure 300 combine harvesters for Kuttanad and Upper Kuttanad as part of the Kuttanad Package prepared by the M.S. Swaminathan Committee, no steps had been taken in this regard, he alleged. According to Mr. Thomas, paddy crop in not less than 1,000 acres in Upper Kuttanad has been lost and the estimated damage is Rs.5 crore. “The government must immediately step in, extend solace to the affected farmers, and save the paddy sector,” he said. He alleged that the Agriculture Minister who had visited Pathanamthitta on Monday had failed to visit the rain-hit Upper Kuttanad.