: The Central drought relief team inspected several places across the district on Wednesday.

It ascertained the extent of damage caused by drought last year.

The delegation, led by Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium Managing Director Pravesh Sharma, who was accompanied by Collector Ashish Kumar, inspected the areas.

Farmers carried withered maize crop at Mela Eral, where the team interacted with some farmers to know the expenditure incurred by them on farm activities.

Cultivable lands became parched and crops withered, owing to monsoon failure, the aggrieved farmers said.

S. Alagumuthu, a cotton and black gram farmer of Mela Eral, said he borrowed cooperative society loan of Rs.85, 000 and bank loan of Rs.50, 000 after mortgaging his wife’s jewels to meet cultivation expenditure.

The loan could not be repaid as the crop failed, he narrated.

V. Krishnamurthy, a farmer from Kadalayur, asked the team to waive crop loan taken by farmers.

Muthulingam, a farmer, who is raising green fodder crop at Eppodum Venran to feed cattle under a subsidy scheme launched by Department of Animal Husbandry, said half an acre from the total one acre turned arid owing to lack of water.

He said he was rearing 35 goats and five milch cows and fodder crop would be sufficient to meet the consumption demands of the cattle. Ahead of Eppodum Venran, the team visited a site at Jegaveerapandiapuram, where workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act were rehabilitating an oorani for harvesting rainwater.

The team interacted with the workers and sought details of the work and provision of daily wages for the task assigned to them.

The workers S. Mallika (48) and Karuppasamy (66), asked the team to open bank branches at villages since they found it difficult to get their wages from banks situated far off.

The Collector assured them that efforts would be made for opening bank branches.

The team inspected a water tank at Eppodum Venran and farmers there sought desilting.

At Valasamudram, beneficiaries under the Pudhu Vazhvu Thittam, demanded drinking water, hospital and bus services.

The Collector told reporters that inspections were made at 10 spots.

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