Madurai

Farmers stage dharna for crop insurance benefits

Farmers protest at Thoothukudi Collectorate on Monday.

Farmers protest at Thoothukudi Collectorate on Monday. | Photo Credit: N. RAJESH

The inordinate delay in disbursing the crop insurance benefits to the farmers for the year 2020 - 2021 overflowed onto the Collectorate here as the agitated agriculturists staged dharna on the Collectorate premises for a while on Monday.

 Before submitting petition to Collector K. Senthil Raj, more than 300 protesting farmers affiliated to various associations staged the agitation at the main entrance of the Collectorate. They, led by Karsial Bhoomi Vivasaayigal Sangam A. Varadharajan, said they had cultivated rain-fed crops like black gram, green gram, maize, sorghum, cotton, chilli, shallot, coriander and sunflower in 2020 – 2021 on over 1.70 lakh hectare. Though the unseasonal rain had destroyed these insured crops completely, the insurance firm had disbursed insurance benefits only to some of the maize growers 20 days ago while leaving others in the lurch.

 “Farmers of several villages have been left out from giving the insurance benefits even though they had paid the insurance premium before the deadline and have the receipt. Hence, the insurance benefits should be given to the farmers without any further delay,” Mr. Varadharajan said.

 When the Deputy Superintendents of Police Prakash and Sampath told the protestors that five of their representatives would be allowed to submit their petition to the Collector, they rejected the suggestion instantly, saying that all of them should be allowed to meet the Collector. “Else, the Collector should come to this spot to meet us,” said the protestors.

 The farmers suspended their agitation for a while only after Superintendent of Police L. Balaji Saravanan pacified them and took 15 farmers to the Collector to submit their petition.

 After Dr. Senthil Raj assured them that they would get the benefit within a day or two, they farmers gave up the agitation and left the Collectorate premises.

 A group of residents from Raja Puthukkudinear Kayathar, led by village panchayat president Arumugasamy, staged a dharna with empty pots on the Collectorate to highlight their demand of regular supply of drinking water in sufficient quantity. The villagers said they were buying a pot of drinking water for ₹ 10 as supply of drinking water was erratic for the past three years. Even though the pipes carrying drinking water to Kovilpatti, Aruppukottai and Virudhunagar were passing through their village, no step had been taken to supply drinking water from these schemes to Raja Puthukkudi, a wayside habitation.

Hence, the district administration should take ensure the supply of drinking water to their hamlet, they said.

 A group of self-help group women, led by P. Raja, secretary of CPI (M) Thoothukudi rural district secretary, submitted petition accusing misappropriation of funds in the Pazhaya Kaayal Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society. They said the office-bearers of the PACB in Pazhaya Kaayal had indulged in scam to the tune of several crores of rupees in giving crop loan and jewel loan and were refusing to give new loans to genuine applicants.

 Hence, an inquiry should be ordered to unearth the scam in the PACB, they said.

Members of Siva Bharath Hindu Makkal Iyakkam submitted a petition seeking cancellation of the hiked toll in the toll gates on the national highways as no mandated basic amenities had been created in these places. Even though toll was being collected the roads, especially the Thoothukudi – Tirunelveli National Highway, were in a pathetic condition to cause accidents frequently due to ‘zero maintenance’, they said.

 When differently abed Murugesan of Aalantha near Savalaaperi in the district attempted to immolate himself by sprinkling kerosene on him, the police thwarted the attempt. He said even though permission had been given to him for running Aavin milk parlour near Savalaaperi bus stop, a few people from this area were preventing him from setting up the shop.

 “As I’ve been left without any income, I cannot run the family. So I am determined to end my life at the Collectorate,” Mr. Murugesan said.

 Those in distress or having suicidal tendencies could seek help and counselling by calling State’s health helpline 104 or Chennai-based Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.


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Printable version | Jul 3, 2022 12:32:22 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/thoothukudi/article65290186.ece