TAMIL NADU

MNC pays Rs. 2 cr. as compensation to farmers

G. Satyamurty

Government to give boost to micro irrigation

"State has nothing against biotechnology but it should be applied properly and precisely"Company should advise farmers and correct them if they go wrong

Coimbatore: Following the tough stand taken by the Tamil Nadu Government, the multinational company selling genetically engineered cotton (Bt) seeds has paid Rs. 2 crore to farmers as compensation .

Agriculture Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner Surjit K. Choudhary, told The Hindu here on Saturday that as the compensation per acre was Rs. 5,000, it had benefited farmers owning in total 4,000 acres in Salem and Dharmapuri districts.

He admitted that "biotechnology is a in-thing" and the State Government had nothing against biotechnology per se. But, it should be applied properly and precisely to get the desired result.

Quality seeds

According to him, it is the duty of the company selling seeds to ensure that proper quality seed is distributed and proper after- sales- service is provided.

Mr. Choudhary said the farmers and the seed company were collaborators and the company should advise the farmers and correct them if they were to go wrong. At the same time, it was the duty of the farmers to adopt the prescribed farming methods properly.

He said the State Government has seen to it that farmers who had suffered because of the poor quality of seeds or the lack of after- sales-service were compensated adequately. Mr. Choudhary said the Government had now decided to give a boost to micro irrigation.

Cluster approach suggested

Twenty companies, which had been operating in the State, had been asked to adopt cluster approach, set up proper distribution centres and after- sales- service centres as well as provide after- sales- service for three years. "It will not merely be irrigation but also will be fertigation."

While the Centre was providing Rs. 34,000 crore as subsidy towards chemical fertilizer, there was nothing for "liquid, soluble fertilizer and bio-fertilizer." " We have taken up the issue with the Fertilizer Ministry," he said.

Besides, a policy decision had been taken to set up laboratories for testing seed, soil, fertilizer, pesticide and leaf and tissue in all districts. "If all these are done systematically, productivity will shoot up", he asserted.

A proposal had been submitted to the Central Government for assistance under the Micro Management Programme.

At the same time, he admitted that the Government was not happy with the knowledge of the extension workers in the department who were part of the Green Revolution network.

"They neither have knowledge nor field work relevant to the current requirements and technology". Hence, it had been decided to upgrade their knowledge for which the extension network would be restructured.