Special Correspondent

Submit memorandum to Karunanidhi

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam and the Tamil Maanila Vivasaya Thozhilalargal Sangam on Friday called upon the State Government to take up the issue of linking peninsular rivers, as part of finding a solution to water shortage in the State.

Shortly after submitting a memorandum to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, State secretary of the Communist Party of India D. Pandian and Central Executive Committee member of the party R. Nallakannu told reporters at the Secretariat that the demand was also highlighted during an awareness campaign taken up by the organisations from April 10 to 26.

Teams of farmers and farmhands led by the State secretary of the Vivasayigal Sangam V. Duraimanickam and Vivasaya Thozhilalar Sangam leader R. Mutharasan took part in the awareness campaign and collected signatures from lakhs of people in support of their demands, Mr. Pandian said.

The memorandum called for measures to remove encroachments on water bodies and desilting of canals in different parts of the State so that rainwater could be stored without much wastage. It also urged the Centre to nationalise all rivers. It sought early solution to inter-State water disputes such as the Cauvery, Mullaperiyar and Palar issues."Farmers are deprived of remunerative procurement prices, owing to manipulations of market economy and unfair practices such as online trade," the memorandum stated, seeking effective steps to protect the interest of agriculturists by providing incentives for procured produce and fixing fair remunerative prices.

Areas under cultivation in the State was shrinking during the last 15 years, thanks to adverse conditions created by polices such as globalisation and liberalisation, the memorandum said. Lack of job opportunities in the rural areas in view of heavy losses suffered by farmers had resulted in a large-scale migration of agricultural workers to other parts of the district and the country. In some places, the displaced had become bonded labour.

Kolappan Committee

The organisations also demanded implementation of the recommendations of the Kolappan Committee to provide employment for farm workers throughout the year and social security for them. They asked the Government to ensure strict implementation of minimum wages for farm hands.

They urged the Government to implement a scheme to provide monthly pension of Rs.1,000 and medical facilities for farm workers, fishermen and tribals aged above 50.