Staff Reporter

CPI(M) leader seeks relief for farm labourers also

Farmers were expecting a bumper crop

‘Implement Swaminathan panel package also’

ALAPPUZHA: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary P. K. Chandranandan has requested the Central team to pressurize the Centre for immediate payment of adequate relief to the rain-hit paddy farmers of Kuttanad.

Mr. Chandranandan, who met the Central team at the District Collectorate here this morning, submitted a memorandum to team leader A.K. Yadav and pointed out that the summer rains had struck at a time when farmers were expecting a bumper crop of over 1,40,000 tonnes. The impact of the rains was therefore much more deep and devastating.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, he said, had come to power when the agrarian sector was in a deep crisis. As a result of the efforts of the Government to encourage the paddy sector, the cultivated area in Kuttanad had gone up by over 5,000 acres. The Government had also hiked the paddy prices to Rs. 9 per kg. However, the rains, which were on an unprecedented scale in Kuttanad during the harvest season, dashed all hopes of the farmers, he said.

The corresponding period, March 15 to 22, in the last three years had seen an average of 40mm of summer rain. However, this year, from March 14 to 21, the recorded rainfall was 189.5mm. The rainfall on March 16 alone was 119mm.

Mr. Chandranandan said the State Government had taken immediate relief measures, including distribution of an interim relief of Rs.10,000 per hectare and hiked the paddy procurement price to Rs.10 per kg. However, the damage was on such a large scale that the State Government alone could not tackle it. Apart from arranging for immediate and adequate relief for the farmers, steps had to be taken by the Union Government to implement the Rs.1,840 crore package recommended by the M.S. Swaminathan Commission, he said.

Mr. Chandranandan also requested the Central team to consider the huge losses suffered by farm labourers due to loss of work caused by the rains.