Members of Tamizhaga Cauvery Vivasayigal Sangam staged a demonstration in front of the Collector’s Office in Thanjavur on Monday demanding the procurement of paddy with a moisture content of up to 22% at the direct purchase centres (DPCs).
The demonstration was led by P. R. Pandian, president of the association. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Pandian said that paddy has been cultivated on four lakh acres in the State but only limited number of DPCs have been opened so far. Except for a few, most of the open storage godowns remain closed.
Since paddy with only 17% moisture content was being procured, farmers were being forced to sell their paddy for low prices to private traders, he complained.
Mr. Pandian criticised the DMK for failing to fulfil its poll promise of increasing the procurement price of paddy to ₹2,500 a quintal and sugarcane to ₹4,000 a tonne. He demanded that the government fix the minimum support price and procure rain fed crops, including groundnut.
J. Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection, who was at the Collectorate when the farmers resorted to the agitation, met the protesters briefly. Mr. Pandian claimed that Mr. Radhakrishnan assured to take up their demand for raising the moisture content limit to 22% with the Union government.
Similar demonstrations were held by the association members in Nagapattinam and other delta districts.