Tamil Nadu

Drop NOC clause for silt removal: Perambalur farmers

Farmers posting queries during the farmers grievances day meeting at Perambalur, Tamilnadu. Photo: A. Muralitharan   | Photo Credit: A_Muralitharan

Farmers of Perambalur district on Thursday sought exemption from obtaining no-objection certificate for removing silt from ponds and tanks for agricultural use. This came as a suggestion for improving the water table of the district, which has been reeling under successive drought. At present, lake silt is categorised as a minor mineral and an NOC is required for its removal.

Raising the issue of depleting water table at the monthly meeting to hear farmers’ grievances here, Raja Chidambaram, State secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said that although the Tamil Nadu Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959, exempted the public from obtaining an NOC for quarrying in ponds or tanks for agricultural purpose, a later order from the Centre insisted on an NOC, as in the case of sand. He pointed out that if the silt was not removed, the storage level of water bodies would get depleted leading to wastage of rainwater and a subsequent fall in groundwater level. He pleaded for the partial use of machinery in the creation of farm ponds as it was not possible manually to create 1,000 ponds in a dry district such as Perambalur over a short period of time.

Collector Darez Ahamed recalled that the use of machinery was expressly prohibited in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. However, a detailed report had been sent to the Secretary, Public Works Department, to reconsider classification of groundwater status of Perambalur as “overexploited” and allow creation of new wells.

About the report on water table, Mr. Raja Chidambaram highlighted the plight of onion farmers who could not get bank loans for creating new wells for irrigation as Perambalur was in the “black list” of districts where exploitation of groundwater was impossible. He came up with the idea of allowing farmers from places where a particular vegetable was available in abundance to market it in a place where it was in demand. This effort would moderate the prices of vegetables across the State, he said.

The Collector, who referred to a government proposal, said marketing of vegetables outside the place of production could be done by forming self-help groups.

Mr. Ahamed said a special meeting would be conducted here on October 31 to redress grievances of farmers over obtaining loans from banks while responding to complaints.

A.K. Rajendran, another farmer leader, called for opening new police stations in far flung areas of Veppanthattai and Agaram. Murugesan complained that farmers were not getting replies from government departments on the action taken on their petitions.

Representatives of Tamil Nadu Uzhavar Sangam complained that they were not given time to air their grievances at the meeting.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 11:52:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/drop-noc-clause-for-silt-removal-perambalur-farmers/article5269908.ece

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