There’s some bad news for Tamil Nadu farmers. The central drought inspection team has recommended a drought fund of Rs 2,096 crore for Tamil Nadu farmers, whereas the state government had asked for Rs 39,565 crore for the drought affected farmers.
A team of central government officials had visited Chennai in January to inspect the drought hit areas and discuss the issue with the state government. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had asked the Centre to sanction Rs 39,565 crore from National Disaster Response Fund towards mitigation measures, according to reports.
Farmers are unhappy with the central team’s recommendation. “The recommendation is only 5% of the money that the Tamil Nadu government had asked for. The central government does not consider the needs of Tamil Nadu. How is the central government going to cover the losses we had?” asked Dheiva Singamani from the Tamil Nadu Vyavasaya Sangam Kutamaipu.
“We have called for Tamil Nadu bandh on April 3 against the central government’s recommendation,” he added.
“From Cauvery management board to drought relief to the Hydrocarbon project - in all these cases, I feel that the central government is against the Tamil Nadu government,” he said.
Tamil Nadu received only 168.3 mm of rainfall during the north-east monsoon, and has a deficit of 62%.
Since March 13, 2017, 84 farmers from Tamil Nadu, dressed in loincloths and dhotis, began their protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi seeking an immediate release of funds for their crop losses.On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met the protesting farmers, and promised to consult officials on their demands before taking a decision.
One of their key demands is for the Centre to declare Tamil Nadu a drought-hit state. Besides this, they want the government to provide immediate relief to the farmers, waive off their debts, and also ensure the interlinking of rivers in the country.
The farmers hail mainly from the delta region of Trichy, Karur and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. They have said that they will continue their protests till the central government accepts their demand.