Eleven days after 84 farmers from Tamil Nadu took to the roads of the country‚Äôs capital to protest the lack of drought relief in the state, they have received support from actors representing the Nadigar Sangam. Actors and directors joined the farmers at Jantar Mantar to express solidarity with their cause.
In the wake of a massive drought in Tamil Nadu, the farmers who are from Trichy, Karur and Thanjavur arrived at the capital on March 13, to demand the immediate lease of funds to compensate crop loss.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had met the farmers and promised to consult officials on their demands before making decisions. The High Level Committee (HLC) of the central government, which surveyed the drought situation in Tamil Nadu has approved a financial assistance to the tune of Rs 2014.45 crore for the state. This the highest among the central aid proposed for 10 states affected by natural disasters. However, it falls way short of the Rs 39,565 crore aid sought by the state.
This move has only further enraged farmers, who claim that the Centre is giving Tamil Nadu a raw deal. The protesters in Delhi meanwhile, continue their agitation and have stated that they will not return home until their demands are met.
The move by the Nadigar Sangam to visit the group is further being seen as a shot in the arm. Actor Prakash Raj, Vishal, Soundararaja and Director Pandiarajan visited the farmers in Jantar Mantar and then proceeded to take part in their agitation. The actors have reportedly further promised to secure an appointment for the protesters to meet the Prime Minister.
The protesters have maintained that their demand is for the Centre to declare Tamil Nadu a drought-hit state. In addition to this, they want the government to provide relief demanded by the state to the farmers, waive-off their debts and also ensure the interlinking of rivers in the country. Tamil Nadu is currently facing its worst drought in 140 years and over 400 farmers have reportedly committed suicide following crop loss and inability to pay back loans. These protesters had taken to the streets of the capital, wearing loin cloths and carrying skulls of dead farmers. It was seen as a desperate attempt to grab the Centre‚Äôs attention to their plight.