Anxiety over storage level, delay in disbursement of crop loans

Delay in disbursement of crop loans appears to have caused a sense of insecurity among farmers who have taken up kuruvai cultivation in the Delta districts.

Enquiries reveal that farmers approaching primary agriculture credit cooperative societies/banks seeking crop loans are directed to approach central cooperative bank branches to apply for crop loan this season. Until last season, they availed the loans through societies/PACBs.

They are keeping their fingers crossed on kuruvai cultivation, which they took up with confidence after Mettur dam was opened for irrigation on the scheduled date of June 12 for the second consecutive year.

Claiming that the farmers are already in dire financial straits as the pandemic has put the breaks on agricultural and horticultural operations, G. Srinivasan of Ganapathi Agraharam, a progressive farmer,says the government must initiate measures for crop loan disbursement through societies on a war footing.

The need to revert to the old system of crop loan distribution has also been stressed by general secretary of Thamizhaga Cauvery Vivasayigal Sangam P.R. Pandian.

In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister M.K.Stalin recently, Mr. Pandian has said tiny and small farmers have been put to severe hardship as societies/PACBs have been barred from disbursing crop loans from this season in view of RBI’s instructions. Though the announcement of kuruvai package has been viewed as a welcome move, farmers, particularly tiny and small, will be pushed into a debt trap if they are denied crop loans.

Meanwhile, depletion of storage level at Mettur dam has worried farmers who solely depend on surface water for irrigation to raise kuruvai crop in delta districts, particularly tail-end areas.

Though the recent sporadic rain in different areas in the deltaic region has been viewed as a blessing in disguise, the paltry inflow of around 2,500 cusecs into the dam (as on Thursday morning) against the outflow of 12,000 cusecs in the backdrop of around 76.50 feet (around 38.50 tmcft) of storage has worried them.

The State government should ask Cauvery Water Management Authority to ensure that its recent direction to the Karnataka government to release around 40 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu is fulfilled by the upper riparian State, said Mr.P.R. Pandian.

The Tamil Nadu government, which has taken up the Mekedatu issue vociferously with the Centre, should act with the same determination in getting the State’s share of water released from dams in Karnataka at this crucial hour to save the kuruvai crop being raised in delta districts, they added.

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