Staff Reporter

`15 per cent of cultivable land lying idle in the district'

ERODE: The district administration should take steps to open more paddy procurement centres as the present centres are insufficient to meet the demand, said the president of Lower Bhavani Project Ryots Association, C. Nallasamy, on Friday at the agriculturists grievances day meeting conducted by the District Revenue Officer, V. Santha.

He said in the LBP ayacut area, paddy harvest had started and the district administration should procure the entire produce from the farmers. To facilitate the farmers to bring paddy to the centres, more procurement centres in addition to the ones at taluk headquarters may be started.

R. Mohan, president of Mettur West Bank Canal farmers Association, said the present open market paddy price was too low and the government should procure the entire produce from the farmers. The secretary of the Farmers Federation, K. Vadivelu, wanted at least one paddy procurement centre in each Panchayat Union for the benefit of the farmers.

Mr. Nallasamy said because of labour shortage and increase in input costs, about 15 per cent of the cultivable land was lying idle in the district. The district administration should recommend to the government to waive water cess of farmers of the area. He also pleaded to the government to procure turmeric from farmers at Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 per quintal. The secretary of the Tamilaga Vivasayeegal Sangam, Subbu, criticised the State Bank of India, Kandasamypalayam branch, for deputing the members of the SHGs to visit the farmers' houses and collect dues. He wanted the administration to enhance the milk procurement price.

Mr. Mohan said the Bhavani-Mettur Main Road was still in a bad condition and several craters had affected free flow of traffic. He wanted the Highways Minister to order repairs and develop the road and convert it into a four-lane track. He also sought funds for the construction of the Bhoodapady regulated market building.

The secretary of the Thadapalli Canal Farmers Association, Eswaran, appealed to the Public Works Department officials to evict all the encroachments on either side of the canal and sought government funds to improve the canal. The secretary of the Arakkankottai Canal Farmers Association, Thalabathy, said round-the-clock power supply should be ensured in the hill areas.