Staff Reporter

PUDUKOTTAI: The district branch of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the All India Kisan Sabha, has urged the State Government to ensure uninterrupted power supply to agricultural pumps for at least 16 hours a day.

A resolution adopted at the end of its two-day meeting here on Thursday, said that with the failure of monsoon the groundwater level had seriously depleted in several parts of the district.

Farmers irrigating their fields relying on bore-wells were worst-hit due to the erratic power supply.

Farmers who had cultivated paddy, sugarcane, horticultural crops and plantain bore the brunt of the load-shedding, the resolution said urging the government to take urgent action for the assured power supply for at least 16 hours a day to save the standing crops.

Another resolution wanted starting of Agricultural, Medical and Veterinary Science colleges in the district, for providing higher educational opportunities to the youths hailing from economically weaker sections in and around Pudukottai.

The meeting, through a resolution, wanted the Central government to fix the sugarcane procurement price at Rs. 2,000 a tonne with 8.5 per cent recovery.

The State Government should fix the paddy price at Rs. 1,400 a quintal.

The resolution said that the hike in the procurement tariff had become inevitable in the wake of the spiralling rise in the cultivation cost.

Resolutions pleading for stringent measures against illicit quarrying of sand from several river-beds in the district; hike in the wages for the beneficiaries of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme were also passed on the occasion.

State president of the Association Mohamad Ali, who addressed the farmers, wanted distribution of free land to the landless and the economically weaker sections.

State vice-president of the Association V. Subramanian and State president of Tamil Nadu Agricultural Labourers Association G. Veeraiyan were among those who spoke.

Earlier, the farmers took out a rally in support of their demands including inter-linking of the Cauvery, Vaigai and Kundaru rivers for stepping up irrigational facility for the agriculturists.