State Agriculture Department has passed Government Orders releasing Rs 7.6 crore for the relief works in Cyclone Gaja-hit areas. Wood chippers, chain saw, wood splitter are to be purchased to clear the collapsed coconut trees in delta districts, official sources said.
The Government Order issued by Agriculture Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi released to speed up the clearing of uprooted trees explained that the farmers in Delta districts cultivate coconut as perennial crop. Because of very high velocity of cyclonic wind, most of the coconut trees are either uprooted or broken. Due to non-availability of labour and financial crunch, they are facing difficulty in removing the heavy weight coconut trees which are fallen due to cyclonic winds and clearing of fields. Unless the farmers remove these uprooted coconut trees from their fields further cultivation cannot be continued, the GO said.
Removing the trees by machines is the only option and final solution is to chop the trunks and transform them into dust. The leaves and small parts that are cut from the fallen trees can be put in shredder cum pulverizer for converting them into organic manure.
Winch machines, shredder cum pulverizer and wood splitter machines which are tractor operated have to be procured and attached to the departmental tractors to speed up restoration works. “Due to the alarming need in the cyclone affected districts to cut and removal of fallen trees immediately, the chief engineer has proposed to procure 500 numbers of heavy duty chainsaws, 20 wood chipper machines, 20 winch machines, 20 wood splitter machines and 20 shredder cum pulverizers at the cost of Rs 7. 60 crore.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Department sources also said that the enumeration of paddy and coconut farms hit by Cyclone Gaja was nearing completion. In case of paddy, majority of the fields are insured. The Agriculture Department had also reached out to the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, Coconut Board and the agriculture university to assist the farmers in restoring their livelihood.
However, the farmers based in Delta are upset over the relief packages announced by the state. “The meagre amount of Rs 1,100 as a compensation for coconut tree will not help the farmers and the state should revise the compensation and every other day there are protests in Delta region seeking better compensation,” said Arupathy Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of Farmers Associations, Cauvery Delta Districts.