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Massive crop loss in rain, compensation to farmers likely to be poll issues in Tamil Nadu

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said he conveyed the seriousness of the issue to the Centre and sought its help. “We are estimating the damage, relief will be declared soon,” he said.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
January 21, 2021 1:21:37 am
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami (L), DMK chief M K Stalin

The massive crop loss due to excess rain in Cauvery delta region is likely to become an issue in the upcoming elections in Tamil Nadu with more than six lakh farmers hit by the loss of samba paddy crop that was ready for harvest. This comes months after similar damage due to Cyclone Nivar.

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said he conveyed the seriousness of the issue to the Centre and sought its help. “We are estimating the damage, relief will be declared soon,” he said.

The Chief Minister’s remarks came days after DMK president M K Stalin accused the AIADMK government of failing to reach out to the farmers and claimed that many were yet to receive full compensation for crop losses owing to the cyclone. He said the Chief Minister was adding salt to injury by saying that they are yet to assess the damage.

It is estimated that over 60 per cent of cultivation has been destroyed. Incessant rainfall in delta regions, including Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai and Ariyalur, also spoiled the chances of summer crop, farmers said.

Farmers are expecting immediate compensation. “Impact of excess rain was severe in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai and Ariyalur. We hope compensation is declared immediately,” said P Ayyakannu, one of the leaders of delta farmers.

A senior agriculture department official said a survey is still underway to assess the damage. “We had cleared compensations worth up to Rs 20,000 per farmer for those who suffered losses in the cyclone in November. We will soon complete the survey and hand over the data to the government,” he said.

However, P R Pandian, leader of Tamil Nadu Federation of All Farmers, one of the largest collectives for farm sectors, said the compensation should be fixed on the basis of rainfall data and that farmers are “demanding a compensation of not less than Rs 35,000 per acre considering the minimum cost”. “A survey might show portions survived the rain but retrieving survived crops is almost impossible in the current scenario.”

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