Devastation recall: Farmers, fishermen pay tribute to trees

When Cyclone Gaja had a landfall in the Delta region on November 16, farmers and fishermen from Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam and Pudukkottai suffered huge losses. Around 45 lakh coconut trees were uprooted in Orathanadu, Pattukkottai and Peravurani in Thanjavur district.
Farmers paying tribute to a coconut tree on Cyclone Gaja’s 4th anniversary in Pattukkottai on Wednesday
Farmers paying tribute to a coconut tree on Cyclone Gaja’s 4th anniversary in Pattukkottai on Wednesday

TIRUCHY: Farmers and fishermen from Delta region worshipped the trees on Wednesday to mark the fourth anniversary of Cyclone Gaja devastation. After the ‘ritual,’ they demanded the state government to fulfill the promises soon after the tragedy.

When Cyclone Gaja had a landfall in the Delta region on November 16, farmers and fishermen from Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam and Pudukkottai suffered huge losses. Around 45 lakh coconut trees were uprooted in Orathanadu, Pattukkottai and Peravurani in Thanjavur district.

While commemorating the fourth anniversary of Gaja devastation, coconut farmers from Orathanadu paid tributes to their trees by lighting candles. “The government gave a compensation of just Rs 1,000 per tree and after a series of demands, the government announced to distribute maintenance charge, but farmers were yet to receive the amount,” said Sukumaran, a coconut farmer.

Sukumaran pointed out that the coconut tree generally would give yield only after four years of planting. But, after Cyclone Gaja, the growth of the saplings is not proper. “The state government should immediately release the maintenance charge as per the announcement, which would also help the farmers, who faced unprecedented loss and still struggling to come to terms,” he said.

Fishermen said that the state government promised to construct the bait curve at Mallipattinam soon after Cyclone Gaja devastation. The bait curve at Mallipattinam, which was a long pending demand of the fishers of this stretch, would have saved several boats, they said.

“There were around 250 mechanised boats and 2,000 country boats from 32 coastal hamlets in and around Mallipattinam and Sethubavachatram areas in Thanjavur. Political leaders and officials, who visited the spot, promised a bait curve at Mallipattinam but nothing has been done so far,” said Thajudeen, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Fishermen Peravai.

He urged the state, which had allocated a fund of Rs 50 lakh for the feasibility study, should immediately start the work.

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