TAMIL NADU

`Govt. should not withdraw concessions to farmers'

COIMBATORE Jan. 3. The State Government should not contemplate withdrawing concessions to farmers, especially with regard to free power supply, leaders of various Opposition parties and ryots' associations said at the Farmers' Protection Conference, organised by the Federation of All-Farmers' Associations, here today.

Criticising the Government for trying to inflict more pain on the farmers when they were already tormented by crop loss, owing to poor monsoon and also the Cauvery imbroglio, they said none of the existing concession should be withdrawn and steps should be taken to pay the arrears to the cane farmers and milk producers.

A nine-page resolution, moved at the conference, called upon the Government not to withdraw concessions in power tariff and also the free supply, in the name of reforms in the power sector.

It was pointed out by the speakers that the free supply should not be seen as a dole from the Government as it was a compensation to farmers for the losses suffered owing to the vagaries of the Nature.

The meet demanded remunerative price for farm produce, waiver of interest on agricultural loans, tax exemptions for farm pumpsets and compensation to coconut farmers. It also opposed the tax on agricultural income mooted by the Kelkar Committee report.

The federation urged the Government to take steps to save the Samba crop in the Cauvery delta. The farmers in this area suffered heavily with regard to the Kuruvai crop, owing to the Cauvery crisis.

Now, the Samba crop on seven-lakh acres faced a similar threat. Hence, talks should be held with the Karnataka Government to sort out the issue.

The meet criticised the Kerala Government's move to construct a dam across the Bhavani as it would affect the Erode and Coimbatore region.

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