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Mini cold storages in Uzhavar Sandhais likely

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STOCK TAKING: (From right) Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam, Agriculture Secretary Surjit K.Choudhary, Tiruchi Collector Ashish Vachhani and his Pudukottai counterpart S.J. Chiru at a review meeting in Tiruchi on Wednesday.
STOCK TAKING: (From right) Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam, Agriculture Secretary Surjit K.Choudhary, Tiruchi Collector Ashish Vachhani and his Pudukottai counterpart S.J. Chiru at a review meeting in Tiruchi on Wednesday.

Special Correspondent

Facility, to be offered free of cost, will help farmers to stock up their produce

TIRUCHI: Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam on Wednesday said the State Government was examining the feasibility of setting up mini cold storages in Uzhavar Sandhais, which attracted heavy arrival of vegetables.

The cold storages could be initially set up in up to 60 out of the 103 Uzhavar Sandhais. The facility, to be offered free of cost, would help farmers to stock up their produce, Mr. Arumugam told reporters here. The Government had also decided to set up 50 more Uzhavar Sandhais in the State, he said.

Earlier, the Minister chaired a review meeting on supply of agriculture inputs in Tiruchi, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai districts.

Fertilizer import

Mr. Arumugam said the Government would soon sanction Rs.20 crore for import of fertilizers. A sum of Rs.10 crore has been sanctioned to the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation for import of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP). Already, 22,000 tonnes of DAP had been purchased from Indian Potash Limited and the Government had placed orders for an additional 50,000 tonnes. The fresh stock was expected to arrive within the next 15 days.

No shortage

Maintaining that there was no shortage of fertilizer, he said about 2.42 lakh tonnes of urea, 84,000 tonnes of DAP and one lakh tonnes of potash were available.

Discussions were on to set up terminal markets for agricultural produce in Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore under public-private partnership initiatives.

To a query, Mr. Arumugam said the State Government had taken up with the Centre and the insurance companies the demand for sanction of compensation for crop damages to individual farmers. At present, compensation was sanctioned only if the damages were on a village level.

During the current year, about 5.30 lakh farmers from the delta region would be brought under insurance cover. The Government had sanctioned 50 per cent subsidy on the premium payable by farmers, even if they had not taken loans. The Government had also written to the Centre the demand for increasing the compensation given to banana growers who suffered crop damages due to gales and floods.

Loans for farmers

Cooperative banks had been asked to expedite the disbursement of crop loans in the delta districts. So far, Rs.72.17 crore had been disbursed in the districts out of the targeted Rs.417.40 crore, he added.

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj, Agriculture Secretary Surjit K. Choudhary, Registrar of Cooperative Societies Jatindranath Swain, Director of Agriculture S. Kosalaraman, Collectors Ashish Vachhani (Tiruchi), S.J. Chiru (Pudukottai), Anil Meshram (Perambalur) and T.N. Venkatesh (Karur) and other officials participated in the meeting.

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