Farmers in composite Vellore district, who purchased farm equipment of Chinese-make from the state government, are sore that such equipment fall into disuse when they develop faults due to lack of spares and service centres locally.
According to K Raja, Ranipet district president of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, “the government should covert the closed industrial units at the Ranipet Sidco Industrial Estate into centres to develop and repair such farm machinery. This will meet the farmers’ needs in addition to creating jobs for many local people.”
Farmers are annoyed that after purchasing such equipment, though given at subsidised rates, they have to pay for them before they can own them. “They develop snags as the Chinese-make machines do not suit the local soil,” says Varuna Kumar, Tirupattur district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association.
“Non-availability of labour for various farm operations ensures that these machines are almost a godsend till they develop problems,” says Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam Youth Wing district secretary R Subash of Kaveripakkam. “When the machines become unusable, it results in the farmer having to spend money to hire local equipment to get the work done,” he adds.
While the alternative would be Indian brands of such equipment, farmers accept that it will be hard to get them as cheaply as their Chinese counterparts. “But, the advantage is that such equipment though costlier have spares available and also service centres,” says farmer N Ramesh of Katpadi. Chinese equipment have dealerships in Bengaluru and “when farmers are forced to send the equipment there to repair, it affects the already-started farm operations,” Raja adds.
Demand to weigh produce without delay
Farmers from areas surrounding Arani, who had brought their produce to the regulated market at Arani, resorted to a road blockade on Monday as regulated market staff refused to weigh their produce immediately, allowing their bags to remain in the sun for long hours.
Farmers from villages, including SV Nagaram, Arani, Sevoor and Irumbedu, bring their produce to the regulated market at Arani where it is weighed and allowed to be kept their till the farmer gets a good price.
However, trouble was simmering for some time, as weighing staff at the regulated market refused to weigh their bags immediately and allowed them to remain in the sun which resulted in the produce, specially paddy, losing weight. This lead to farmers not getting a good price for their products.
As senior officials at the market did not provide a convincing reply to the farmers’ demands to have their bags weighed immediately, they blocked the Arani-Vandavasi road in the morning.
On receipt of information, Arani town police rushed to the spot and along with regulated market officials convinced the angry farmers to lift the blockade, promising to initiate necessary action. Based on this assurance, the farmers gave up their agitation and traffic resumed after 30 minutes.