Farmers blast PWD’s failure to desilt Palayam Channel; ‘farming being smothered by official apathy’

September 30, 2022 07:16 pm | Updated 07:16 pm IST - TIRUNELVELI

A farmer submits a petition to  Collector V. Vishnu at the grievance redressal meet held on Friday at the Collectorate in Tirunelveli.

A farmer submits a petition to  Collector V. Vishnu at the grievance redressal meet held on Friday at the Collectorate in Tirunelveli. | Photo Credit: SHAIKMOHIDEEN A

The Public Works Department’s miserable failure to ensure proper desilting of the Palayam Channel will permanently decimate farming operations under this channel in near future, said farmers who participated at the monthly grievances redressal meet held at the Collectorate on Friday said.

 Raising the issue, farmer Kulanthaivelu said the PWD officials, who had promised to desilt the Palayam Channel in April, had not fulfilled their promise. Since water was not released in the channel, it had become a ‘sewage channel’. Even as farming operations under the Palayam Channel was gradually being smothered by this callous approach of the PWD officials, their failure to desilt the channel on time would only force the disgruntled farmers having lands under this channel to leave the profession.

 “In other words, the official apathy is encouraging conversion of ranches into housing plots,” said Mr. Kulanthaivelu, who was supported by a few more agriculturists having farms under Palayam Channel.

 Embarrassed by the farmers’ charges, the PWD officials assured to desilt the Palayam Channel under the “special scheme” even as the northeast monsoon is expected to start by mid-October.

 Alleging that urea was being sold at inflated price due to short supply, farmer Abraham of Kaanaarpatti near Maanur said the Collector should instruct the officials to give ‘increased crop loans’ considering the inflation.

 District Collector V. Vishnu said the farmers would get the ‘uniform loan’ as prescribed by the government and informed that construction of check-dam across Elumichchaiyar, which was under consideration, would be taken-up only after the survey was conducted by competent officials.

 Mr. Vishnu appealed to the public and the business establishments not to dump waste in the waterbodies while pointing out that garbage had been dumped in Nainarkulam in Tirunelveli Town again from where the waste dumped over the past several months was removed recently.

 The officials informed that the district with annual average rainfall of 814.80 mm had received only 342.52 mm till September 28 during the southwest monsoon.

 With the water available in the dams and the wells, paddy had been raised on 10,051 hectare this year and grams on 1,245 hectares.

 Joint Director of Agriculture Ashok Kumar informed that the officials attached to the Department of Quality Control were taking fertilizer and agricultural input samples from the authorized stockists. While seven fertilizer shops had lost their licenses for selling inferior quality fertilizers and 36 shops had been directed not to sell pesticides as they were found selling the pesticides even after the expiry date.

 He appealed to the farmers to pay the premium before the deadline for insuring black gram, green gram, maize, banana, bhendi etc. along with the documents required. While the last date for paying the premium for paddy was December 15, the farmers should pay the premium for green gram and black gram before November 15, he added.

District Revenue Officer C. Jayashree was present.

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