A delegation of 12 farmers associations in Tamil Nadu have met Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday demanding to hike the drought relief announced by the state on January 10. Citing an unprecedentedly severe drought that affected the entire state with the failure of both the south-west and north-east monsoons, a memorandum submitted by farmers’ delegation said the government should revise the drought relief and the compensation towards crop damage, besides waiver of crop loans and stoppage of property attachments.
Memorandum urged the government to revise the already announced compensation package of Rs 5,565 per acre for paddy crop, Rs 5,465 per acre for irrigated crop and Rs 7,287 per acre for rain-fed crops and demanded to include farm labourers too in the package, who are largely in a distress and being forced to leave villages to cities and other states in search of jobs. The delegation demanded a compensation of Rs 10,000 and 30kg of rice free of cost per month, per family.
The delegation also demanded the state government to immediately start the desalting works on water bodies, for which the government had allocated Rs 3,400 crore. The delegation also demanded the government to expedite measures to resist the Kerala government from constructing check dams across the Bhavani river and speed up linking of intra-state rivers announced in 2011.
K Balakrishnan, president of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Associations, a body that represent 10 leading farmers’ associations and farm labourers unions, said the government compensation of Rs 5,565 per acre was not enough when the cost of production per acre alone exceeds Rs 18,000. “Moreover, the government scheme did not include farm labourers, who are the worst affected in this crisis without work or any other income. The government said that they will consider the demand,” he said.
© The Indian Express Online Media Pvt Ltd
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