Report on damage forwarded to the State Government
KULITHALAI: Irked by the State Government overlooking farmers’ claims for flood compensation in Karur district, they have demanded adequate compensation besides extending the benefits and relief the government has announced for 12 coastal and delta districts.
The farmers gave vent to their grievances at a meeting held here on Friday and demanded that officials convey their mood to the State Government.
Raising the issue of compensation, conveners of Farmers Discussion Groups from Kulithalai and Valayapatti A.V. Gopaladesikan and R. Satheesh, demanded that banana, sugar cane and paddy fields were inundated in several parts of Kulithalai and Krishnarayapuram taluks in the district.
Though the areas were very much part of Cauvery delta in terms of Revenue Department classification, they did not qualify to be so, they contended. A piquant situation prevailed with Karur district _ being at the head of the Cauvery delta _ not being accorded the status, the farmers pointed out.
Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association deputy secretary Kavandampatti R. Subramanian wanted to know the area damaged in the floods and rain. Farmer Manathattai Ilangovan quipped every top official toured the affected areas. “Did some heavenly body spread a canopy in particular over the Kulithalai-Krishnarayapuram region to avert rain damage or does the Government think so?” he wondered.
Assuaging their feelings, Karur Collector J. Umamaheswari replied that a report listing the damages and the assessment had been forwarded to the State Government. The list included damage to agricultural and horticultural crops. Even a special emissary was despatched to Chennai for follow-up action.
Dr. Umamaheswari explained that the budgetary announcement of relief to 12 districts was particular to the delta districts affected by Nisha and in the second phase Karur would be given priority, she said.
When farmers persisted with their demand, she firmly told them that “either you would get the compensation soon or would get a new Collector,” to a thunderous applause.
Later, Agriculture Department officials told The Hindu that a report assessing Rs. 37 lakh damage to crops had been forwarded to the State Government for consideration.
That included horticulture crops damaged to the extent of Rs. 24 lakh.
Another issue that rocked the proceedings was the complaint that differential interest rate regime was being applied for a single crop loan and that too without the knowledge of the farmers. Convener of Farmers’ Discussion Group, Rathinam Pillai Pudur, M. Rajeswari wondered why some banks were charging interest for sugarcane crop loan at seven per cent for the first six months and 12 per cent for the subsequent period. In the absence of the lead district manager (LDM), the reply of Joint Director of Agriculture R. Durairaj was not convincing to the farmers.
Likewise farmers were upset that some banks were charging a certain amount for issuing no objection certificate for individuals to get loan.
They also charged that there was delay in issuing the NOC. They stoutly refuted the LDM’s reply in absentia that no fee was being charged for issuing the NOC and that there was no delay.
Dr. Umamaheswari said that she would direct the LDM to be present at the subsequent meetings.
She also added that she would raise the issues with the bankmen in the next district level review meet.
Farmers from Nangavaram and Nachalur thanked the Collector and the Public Works Department (River Conservancy Division) Assistant Executive Engineer N. Jothimani for promptly repairing a culvert near Inungur. They offered shawls to the officials.
Based on the Collector’s directive, the Agriculture and Horticulture Departments had brought out handbooks on schemes being offered through their department.