November 29, 2015
Chaotic scenes prevailed at the monthly agriculturists’ grievances day meeting was held at the district collector’s office recently with farmers resorting to protests against the district administration’s gross inaction. District collector Archana Patnaik was forced to hand over eight conditions to the farmers at the meeting.
Farmers normally give petitions to the collector to solve their grievances and this is eventually redressed. But the farmers have alleged that the district administration have been indifferent towards their complaints. An angry member questioned the collector as to why no action was being taken. This was soon followed by protests.
In view of the chaos that prevails during the meeting, the collector has laid out eight conditions to the farmers. Each farmer was given five to seven minutes to talk. Others were instructed to not interrupt or speak over the others. They were also told to talk only about their problems.
P. Kandasamy, Secretary of Farmers Association, said, “Such meetings are being conducted for more than 30 years. But all our issues remain unsolved. Collectors and other officials simply reject our proposals. If this continues we will protest in the streets and send petitions to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.”
S. Muthusamy, a farmer, said, “Few years ago, I obtained Rs.8 lakhs from National Agricultural Loan Scheme and now it has increased to Rs.20 lakhs with interest. I’m unable to pay and the bank officials have threatened to take over my land. I request the bank to look into it.” The collector promised to discuss the issue with the bankers but nothing has happened so far, he said.
Retired Agricultural Officer Muruganathan said, “I have been attending the meeting for the past two years. I had reported at the meeting that a pond in Orattukuppai, Mathukarai, was not being maintained properly. In the summers, the pond dries up and gets filled with garbage. I have been complaining to officials. We farmers decided to clean up the pond ourselves. But, there was no cooperation.” He added that officials sometimes threatened them when they presented their petitions.
Anbarasu, another farmer, said, “The Guruvayurappa Institute of Management has illegally occupied the government land and has constructed its drainage there. This drainage is disrupting the public pathway and grazing activities on the land.” He said that he gave a petition regarding this two years ago. He had also complained that the Amirtha College building constructed near his own farmland is obstructing access to his land. This petition too remains unattended. “This grievance meeting is supposed to be held to solve the farmers’ issues, but it all seems to be a hog wash,” he added.