Move to address labour shortage in Ramanathapuram villages
The district administration has offered to arrange for bank loans to farmers to buy paddy harvesters if they face shortage of farm workers during the harvest season.
Collector K. Nanthakumar, chairing a farmers’ grievance day meeting here on Friday, said that he would arrange for bank loan, if big farmers wished to buy the machines priced between Rs. 9 lakh and Rs. 16 lakh. The government was offering 50 per cent subsidy to the farmers who buy the machines and the district administration would arrange bank loan for the remainder, provided the farmers pay an initial amount ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. One lakh.
Big farmers could buy the machines and rent it out to small farmers at a nominal rate to address the labour shortage, he suggested. “You can buy the machines in two months,” he assured. The Collector was responding to a farmer’s grievance that harvesting had become expensive due to shortage of farm workers. Those who own paddy harvesters, mainly in the delta region of Thanjavur, charge heavily while renting out the machines, he said.
Stating that the monsoon was playing truant, a farmer from R.S. Mangalam block pleaded that the district administration make arrangements for getting water from the Vaigai dam to save standing crops. Officials, however, said it was not possible immediately as the water level in the dam stood at 504 mcft against its capacity of 6,800 mcft.
The district’s vaigai credit was 2,800 mcft, but water could not be released from the dam now due to poor storage. The ayacuts in Sivaganga district secured water from Periyar credit, the officials clarified.
When farmers pointed out delay in disbursement of loans from commercial banks after they had provisionally sanctioned the loans during ‘loan melas’ last month, the Collector clarified that the process was time consuming as the banks, being roped in for the first time to grant loans, would sanction loans only after field inspection. “We have completed four blocks and all the 25,000-odd farmers would be sanctioned loans by the end of this month.” The farmers would be given bank loans without field inspection from next year, once they were given Kisan Credit Cards, which would be valid for five years, he said.
On shortage of fertilizers, the Collector said that steps had been taken to make available adequate stocks in all the 131 cooperative societies in the district. In the last one month, 4,000 tonnes worth Rs. 7 crore had been sold, he said.
Paddy farmers requested the district administration to provide facilities to dry paddy at the procurement centres, while their counterparts engaged in chilli cultivation, demanded cold storage facilities. In the absence of storage facilities, they were forced to sell their produce to traders at a low price, they said. “We sell for Rs. 400 (per 10 kg) and the traders, after studying the market fluctuations, sell the same at Rs. 1,100,” a farmer said.
Officials also assured a section of farmers that the administration would take steps for the speedy disbursement of insured amount for their failed crops, when a farmer complained that they had been waiting for the amount for the past three years.