Thoothukudi district should be declared ‘drought-hit’ this year as the monsoon has let down the entire southern Tamil Nadu, farmers appealed to the State government.
Raising this issue in the farmers’ grievance redress meeting held at the Collectorate here on Friday P. Bhuviraj, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasaayigal Sangam, said rain-fed crops cultivated in the northern and northwestern parts of the district, including black gram, green gram, corn and chilli, had been seriously affected as the northeast monsoon let down the district.
The drought-like situation had been amplified further by the outbreak of viral attack on black gram. Hence, the Collector should recommend to the government to declare the district ‘drought-hit’ so that the affected farmers would get due crop loss compensation, Mr. Bhuviraj said.
Endorsing his views, farmer Kovilpillai of Ottapidaaram said the scanty rainfall in Ottapidaram, Vilathikulam and Kovilpatti areas, which used to augment rain-fed crop production of the district, were staring at huge crop loss this time. Hence, the farmers who had spent a lot on raising these rain-fed crops were on the verge of suffering hefty loss.
Joint Director of Agriculture Palanivelayutham said his department had recommended to the farmers to cultivate a specific disease-resistant black gram variety, but the agriculturists had cultivated old seeds which had succumbed to the viral attack. “We have prescribed remedial measures to control this disease,” he said.
As farmer G.T. Chandrasekar of Udangudi appealed to the officials to take stringent measures to curb manufacturing of adulterated palmyrah jaggery and palm sugar candy, the participants of the meeting were shocked. “A few groups were making adulterated palmyrah jaggery to spoil the name of ‘Udangudi karuppatti’ (palmyrah jaggery)’ and ‘panangarkandu’ (palmyrah sugar candy).
Manivannan, a professor at Killikulam Agriculture College and Research Institute (KACRI), said there was facility in the college as of now to detect adulteration in palmyrah jaggery and palmyrah sugar candy.
As farmer Ananthakumar of Veppalodai complained that cattle-rearers were not given kisan credit cards, Collector Senthil Raj asked the officials of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Lead District Manager to look into the issue immediately.
The Collector told the Agricultural Department officials to screen documentaries or short films on the latest findings of the researches being done at the KACRI for the benefit of the farmers.