Ranipet ryots upset with Agri dept for not inspecting affected paddy crop
RANIPET: Farmers of Nemili, Kaveripakkam and Panapakkam areas in Ranipet district are reportedly aggrieved at the failure of the Agriculture department to inspect the standing paddy crops affected by a strange disease.
The disease makes its presence felt in the MTU 1010 and Mahendra 606 paddy varieties 30 days after transplantation and results in the stalk having stunted growth while the stem turns red, explained farmers.
Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam youth wing state president R Subash said, “the onset of the misty weather and increased water table that attracted pests were the main reasons for the crop getting affected.”
However, what irked farmers was that though the crops were affected nearly a fortnight ago, there was no response from the Agriculture department, which was more bothered about selling coconut saplings to farmers, a farmer lamented.
Farmers called the disease sigappu poonjai in Tamil. When contacted, a scientist of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Virinjipuram, 12 km from Vellore, said that the disease could be identified only after a field visit and as such there was no disease named sigappu poonjai, which might be a coinage by the farmers or the press.
“We have lost what was spent on the crop. We won’t be able to repay our crop loans and non-payment will affect us when we approach the lenders for the next paddy season,” Ramamurthy another farmer rued.
When DT Next contacted Ranipet Agriculture JD Vadamalai, he said “I have not received any information of such a disease. I visited Kaveripakkam recently and no farmer complained to me about this.”
Asked about sigappu poonjai he said, “there is no disease with such a name. However, if affected farmers contact me, I am ready to make field visits.”
Sangam state general secretary S Udayakumar said, “farmers are reluctant to approach officials as they will advise them to approach insurance companies to seek compensation for the affected crop which too will not be released immediately.”