Since Puducherry and Karaikal regions of the Union Territory were affected by severe drought, another team of experts toured the outlying region of Karaikal for a first hand assessment of the losses suffered by farmers in that region. Puducherry and Karaikal received very little rain during the last north-east monsoon season.
The Central team interacted with the ryots and evaluated the damage to varied crops in the Union Territory. The affected farmers informed the team members that the yield from sugarcane has touched an all time low of 20 tonne per acre and the ground water level has gone down to 200 to 300 feet at some areas due to insufficient rains.
Many peasants could cultivate only one fifth of their farms due to unavailability of water, they said. Kumidini enquired with officers of the impediments in adopting modern methods like drip irrigation, so as reduce water requirement. It was revealed that many farmers could not avail the subsidy for drip irrigation due to technicalities.
Sugarcane being a long-term crop that extend up to seven years, the farmers could not reduce the area of cultivation, even in the years of drought unlike paddy or vegetables, a farmer informed the team. The team visited areas where cane, paddy and pulses were cultivated.
The territorial administration expects the Union government to work out a relief package, based on the report of the expert team. The 11-member team split itself into two, since both Puducherry and Karaikal regions will have to be visited. While the team led by Rani Kumudini visited Puducherry region, the other one led by Ponnusamy visited the Karaikal region.
CPM wants Pondy declared drought-hit
The Puducherry Unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will resort to a ‘dharna’ in front of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, to press for issues pertaining to the people living here.
Even as a Central team was touring the Union Territory to ascertain the impact of the failied North-east monsoon on farmers and the yield, CPM CPM Secretary Rajangam said the Centre should declate UT as drought-hit. In a statement issued on Monday Rajangam said that the party’s Rajya Sabha member, TK Rangarajan will lead the agitation. Issues such as the provision of free rice without any break, generating employment opportunity, waiver of crop loans, disbursement of cane price arrears to the tune of Rs 40 crore, holding of local body elections, gain exemption from NEET among others are being put forth before the Puducherry administration. Issues such as waiver of Rs 6,651 crore loan due of the territorial administration, granting of more financial powers to the Union Territory, declaring Puducherry as drought-hit and provision of adequate compensation among others are being placed before the Central Government, Rajangam said.
‘Pay relief into ryots savings a/c’
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy ordered district collectors to ready computer facilities to ensure that drought affected farmers were given relief amounts through their savings bank accounts.
He revealed this while distributing relief to 31 farmers from drought affected 31 districts in the state at the Secretariat on Monday. A total of 32,30,191 were eligible for drought compensation, he added. This action follows his earlier announcement that farmers suffering more than 33% damage to their crop would be paid Rs.5,465 while it was Rs.3,000 each for rain fed and mulberry crops, Rs.7,287 for long term crops. Surveys revealed that 35, 127 acres were affected needing assistance of Rs.2,247 crores.