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“Declare Tuticorin a drought-hit district”

Staff Reporter
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Grievance meet at the collectorate sees farmers seeking compensation of Rs.15, 000 an acre

Dried hopes:Farmers staging a protest in Tuticorin on Thursday.— Photo: N. Rajesh
Dried hopes:Farmers staging a protest in Tuticorin on Thursday.— Photo: N. Rajesh

Farmers relying on rain-fed cultivation appealed to Collector Ashish Kumar to declare Tuticorin district as a drought-hit region.

At the farmers’ grievances redressal meet that was held here on Thursday, the farmers sought compensation for crops that had withered due to failure of monsoon.

Farmers from Ettayapuram taluk, Ottapidaram, Kovilpatti and Vilathikulam came to the collectorate carrying the withered maize crop and walked up to the Collector’s podium and sought his intervention in the matter.

They demanded a compensation of Rs.15, 000 per acre for land where pulses and millets had been sown.

V. Subbaraman, vice president, Ottanatham village panchayat, appealed to the authorities to write off loans taken from cooperative banks and nationalized banks as they were unable to repay them. He also demanded supply of seeds and fertilizers to farmers, who were hopeful of a good monsoon in the coming days.

K.P. Perumal, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, demanded a compensation of Rs. 25, 000 per acre of paddy field that had also dried up.

The Collector in his reply said that steps would be taken to provide compensation after an assessment was made.

Some farmers also claimed there was a delay in settling insurance benefits for the crop loss accounted in 2010-11.

They also sought extension of deadline for remitting insurance premium this year.

D. Udhayasuryan, Chairman, Tamirabarani Project Committee, said industries should be prohibited from drawing water from reservoirs meant for drinking and agriculture purposes.

The livelihood of farmers would be adversely affected if the authorities failed to curtail the use of water especially from Srivaikuntam anaicut under the 20 MGD scheme. As many as 46, 100 acres of paddy field were drying up for want of water, it was pointed out.

Stating that the subject was taken up at the recently concluded Collectors’ Conference, the Collector said that a desalination plant has been sanctioned for the district and it would provide water for industrial operations.

The project would be taken up soon and it would be completed within two years.

D. Ranjithsingh Dhanraj, Joint Director of Agriculture, asked the farmers to adopt system rice intensification method to use water judiciously. Muthupandi, Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, Tamirabarani River Basin and M. Kanagaraj, Personal Assistant to Collector (Agriculture) were present.

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