Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Officials of the Department of Agriculture, who have got the responsibility of arguing the case of the flood-hit farmers in front of the Central team that visited the district on Tuesday to assess the damage, failed to protect the interest of the farmers. Since the farmers encountered several problems during the last ‘pisanam’ season such as paucity of water for irrigation and non-availability of fertilizers, farming operations of this paddy season started late. To make the situation worse, shortage of harvesting machines and the brokers’ cartel that effectively prevented the entry of harvesting machines from one region to another forced the farmers to further wait for the availability of hi-tech equipment.