Budget: farmers disappointed

Farmers’ organisations are disappointed with the State budget in view of lack of an announcement on crop loan waiver and increase in paddy procurement price. They have expressed concern over the government move to fund a lift irrigation scheme in Salem district by tapping surplus flow in Mettur Dam.

“We were looking forward to this year’s budget with a lot of expectations. We were expecting the government to announce a substantial incentive to increase the paddy procurement price to ₹2,500 a quintal. We were expecting waiver of all crop loans up to ₹2 lakhs sanctioned by cooperative societies and commercial banks. The budget has been a big disappointment on these counts,” said P.R.Pandian, president, Tamil Nadu Federation of All Farmers’ Association.

He sought an explanation from the government why there was no assurance in the policy note on enacting a law to implement its decision to declare the Cauvery delta as a protected agricultural zone. The allocation of less than ₹70 crore for desilting work in Cauvery delta is shocking. A separate government order should be issued for carrying out the desilting work. He, however, welcomed the allocation of funds for executing the Cauvery-Gundar inter-linking scheme.

Expressing concern over “insufficient allocation” of funds for irrigation schemes, Arupathi Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of Farmers’ Associations of Delta Districts, said most of the schemes would remain on paper with meagre allocation. Though the government has announced a renovation and modernisation scheme on Grand Anicut Canal, ₹300 crore has been allotted this year for the project which is estimated to cost ₹2,298 crore. “Any such project taken up in a phased manner or piece meal basis will not be effective. Such projects should be completed within a year or two,” he said.

He condemned the proposal to divert flood surplus water from the Mettur Dam to tanks in Salem district at an estimated cost of ₹565 crore. “The project is totally against the riparian rights of the Cauvery delta. The final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal does not allow lift irrigation even in a single acre either in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka. We get surplus flows hardly for 10 to 15 days in a year and it is totally wrong to execute a project based on this,” he said.

On increasing the incentive for paddy, he urged the government to sanction ₹5,000 an acre as incentive for two seasons a year and transfer the money to farmers’ accounts directly.

P.Ayyakannu, president, Desiya Thennindia Nadigal Innaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, expressed disappointment over lack of announcement on loan waiver as farmers had suffered heavy losses due to drought like conditions in 2016. “We wanted loans of all farmers be waived. There is nothing much to protect the interest of farmers. The government has allotted a mere ₹70 crore for desilting works in the delta.” he said.

While allocation of funds for the Cauvery-Gundar link scheme is welcome, it is regrettable that the government has not sanctioned the long pending demand for the Cauvery-Ayyaru-Upparu linking scheme. However, the president of the farmers wing of the Tamil Maanila Congress Puliyur A.Nagarajan termed it as a farmers’ budget and welcomed allocation of funds for schemes such as Cauvery-Gundar linking and the Athikadavu-Avinashi irrigation scheme.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:26:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/budget-farmers-disappointed/article30822708.ece

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