Despite highlighting their grievances to Ranipet Collector AR Gladstone Pushparaj, the ryots received no firm commitment on opening of DPCs. Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam state youth wing president R Subash said, “officials only focus on the samba and kuruvai paddy seasons not understanding that paddy harvested in the recently concluded sornavari season is lying in the open as farmers lack space to store huge amounts of paddy.”
This has resulted in paddy becoming wet due to daily rains. “Farmers are forced to dry paddy in any available area including roads, on tractor trailers and even near village cremation sheds as the district is woefully short of drying sheds,” opined the association’s district treasurer N Rajamanickam.
The farmer’s association Ranipet district honorary president CS Mani said, “officials do not seem to understand that prior to North Arcot district being split up into the present Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur districts in 1989, it was on a par with the Delta districts in terms of cultivation. While the Delta is a mono crop area North Arcot was and still continues to be a major multi-crop area covered mainly by paddy, sugar cane and groundnut.”
Farmers are also sore that VAOs do not record the actual paddy acreage covered and instead show reduced area which results in the government’s refusal to open DPCs.
With huge stock of paddy being available, open market price now ranges from Rs 850 to Rs 900 for an 80 kg bag of paddy, whereas the government through the DPCs offers Rs 1,566 for the same quantity. This has brought the focus again on farmers demanding permanent DPCs all around the year as then farmers would be able to offload their produce immediately without their harvest having to suffer any damage.