Staff Reporter

Collector asks officials to prepare an action plan

PUDUKOTTAI: The need for starting a sugar mill in the cooperative sector and imposing a ban on implementation of goat-rearing scheme were some of the issues taken up for discussion at the farmers' grievance day meeting held here on Friday.

Sanctioning of special jewel loans at a reduced rate of interest by all the primary agricultural cooperative banks also figured in the meeting which was presided by Collector S. J. Chiru.

He said an unusal additional area had been brought under cultivation last year. He advised the Agriculture Department officials to prepare an action plan specifying the anticipated area for the forthcoming season.

On the goat-rearing issue, he said some stipulations needed to be evolved. He advised the cooperative officials to sanction loans to all the borrowers.

A farmersaid sugarcane which had been harvested was withering away in several villages. He wanted a cooperative sugar mill to be started in Kulathur union as a lasting solution.

The district secretary of the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, K. Manivel, said with sugarcane offering lucrative price, many farmers had switched over to the cash crop last season. Vast area of cane in villages like Visalur, Malayadipatti, Ayyapatti was languishing as the cane was lying in the fields beyond the cultivation period. Non-availability of labour was another problem, he said.

An official from a private sugar factory clarified that the problem caused by the excess arrivals would not be witnessed next season, as his factory was setting up an exclusive unit to crush the cane from Pattukottai and other regions.

A farmer from Vazhamangalam, K. Kasinaathan, said no loan should be sanctioned for rearing goats, as the livestock destroyed the horticultural crops, fields and other saplings, causing rift among the villagers.

The Collector directed the officials to evolve an immediate solution. Many farmers pleaded for sanctioning jewel loans at 9 per cent rate of interest to farmers. Although the State Government had issued a notification to this effect, the primary banks were not popularising it and collecting a higher rate of interest, they said.