Participants of a farmers’ grievance day meeting here on Thursday expressed their displeasure over assessment of drought-affected lands and delay in disbursal of drought relief.
R. Muthu, District Revenue Officer and Collector (in-charge), presided over the meeting.
V. Ganapathi Raman, a farmer from Masarpatti and district president, Southern Dryland Farmers Association, alleged that the revenue officials, including Village Administrative Officers and Village Assistants, did not properly assess farm lands affected by drought owing to monsoon failure in 2012. He also charged that compensation was not given properly to the affected farmers.
He sought an enquiry into the drought relief distribution and called for transparency in the assessment exercise so that the relief would reach ‘real farmers.’
P. Murugesan, district secretary, Vilathikulam taluk, said that instead of the real beneficiaries, the land patta holders, who reside elsewhere, received the compensation at villages coming under the four taluks of Kovilpatti, Ettayapuram, Vilathikulam and Ottapidaram under the Kovilpatti division.
The district administration should constitute a special team of officials for every taluk to monitor whether compensation was given to the affected farmers, he said. Mr. Muthu assured that based on specific complaints action would be taken accordingly.
P. Jeyaraj, a farmer from Achankulam in Ettayapuram taluk, charged that the Agriculture Department was seldom bothered about farmers but only cared about protecting its officials for their negligence in duty.
The VAOs were least interested in addressing the grievance related to drought relief, he said. Of his 43 acres of land, relief assistance of Rs.71,000 was distributed for 23 acres. But for the remaining land, he said the officials made him run from pillar to post, after shifting responsibilities to their subordinates, he said. A petition to this effect was submitted to the Collector on July 1 but no action was taken, he said.
Some of the farmers wanted release of water from the Tamiraparani to Korampallam tank for irrigation.
D. Ranjithsingh Dhanraj, Joint Director of Agriculture, M. Kanagaraj, Personal Assistant to Collector (Agriculture) among others were present at the meeting.