Revealing this to DT Next, Poongavanam, a silk farmer from Panapakkam in Ranipet district, who was part of the 12-member team which met the RJD said, “repeated moves by officials to either block or stonewall farmers demand for an inquiry in various allegations of corruption saw relief when the RJD finally accepted our complaints in writing.”
Under weighing cocoons at the Vaniyambadi cocoon market resulting in each farmer losing around Rs 1,400 was the first instance when farmers approached officials seeking redressal. “But when we came to the Vaniyambadi cocoon market on April 21 the market inspector himself gave in writing about the under weighing issue. But, when we approached the office for the inquiry then, only five were asked to come in and all of us were told not to make the issue big and that we would be given Rs 50,000 jointly. We refused and hence we were shooed out of the office with no action being taken,” another silk farmer who refused to divulge his name said.
Poongavanam added that field staff did not visit farms. “Contrary to official claims of 2,727 acres under mulberry cultivation in the Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts, it is doubtful if there is even 500 acres in total.” Though Chief Minister MK Stalin announced Rs 1,000 crore to bring another 1 lakh acres under mulberry cultivation, “it is doubtful if he knows about the present poor state of mulberry cultivation in the state” Poongavanam added.
He also charged that recently, a Ranipet farmer without mulberry farm was given best farmer award when bona fide silk farmers were sidelined. Even on Tuesday, only 12 farmers were allowed to meet the RJD.