Say areas worst affected by drought were left out of the survey
Complaints over irregularities in distribution of drought relief to affected farmers, identification of right beneficiaries and careless survey of drought-affected areas by revenue officials marked the agriculturists’ grievance day meeting here on Thursday.
Representatives of farmers’ associations complained that many affected farmers were not included in the beneficiary list. The areas worst affected by the drought were left out of the survey conducted by the Village Administrative Officers (VAO), they said and demanded a re-survey to identify the actual affected areas and genuine beneficiaries. Farmer V. Durai Kannan from Eriyode charged that compensation was not distributed properly. The VAO did not verify the affected areas in person. He had prepared the drought report on the basis of available records. There were irregularities in distribution of compensation to farmers in Kombaipatti, Eriyode and Kovilur. One farmer received a compensation of Rs.72,000 for the crop loss in 10 acres while the government offered only Rs.3,000 per acre as compensation, he complained. Collector N. Venkatachalam agreed that the farmer was eligible to receive only Rs.30,000 and ordered an enquiry.
Kambiliyampatti farmers’ representative M.C. Natrayan said that more than 2,000 farmers were affected and standing crops in 3,000 acres destroyed in his village. But compensation was given to mere 266 farmers only.
Farmers D. Thangaraj and R. Satyan appealed to the district administration to direct insurance companies to pay the compensation for sugarcane farmers.
The Collector advised the farmers to use water judiciously as the storage level was low in many water bodies. The total rainfall in May was 104.77 mm, 95.63 mm less than the average rainfall of 199.8 mm and this reflected in poor storage level, he said.
Of the total 91,488 wells in the district, 10 per cent had enough water that could be pumped for two to three hours in a day. From the remaining wells, water could be pumped for one to two hours only. Farmers should raise short-term crops such as small grains, pulses and oil seeds. There was adequate stock of hybrid seeds and fertilizers, he assured.
The farmers need not pay any tax for lifting silt from irrigation tanks. But if they used silt for commercial purposes such as making bricks, they should pay the tax, he clarified.