August 23, 2018
COIMBATORE: The plantation industry in Tamil Nadu on Thursday appealed the Commodity Boards of the Central Government dealing with tea, coffee, rubber and spices to sanction a one-time grant-in–aid to the affected plantations to enable them to restore normalcy from an unprecedented calamitous situation.
“The State Government should provide financial aid to plantation managements to restore the badly damaged estate roads in the interest of the public within the plantation, since the plantation areas in Tamil Nadu situated on the Western Ghats too have been experiencing very high rainfall and consequential damage, as was the case of rain havoc in Kerala and Kodagu in Karnataka,” Plantation Association of Tamil Nadu Secretary Pradeep Sukumar said here..
The year 1961-62 is often considered to be the benchmark year for rainfall comparison, when during a five-month period between April and August 1961, parts of the Valparai area in Coimbatore District received a total of 5,242 m.m of rainfall. “However, for the same period in 2018, the rainfall has already touched 5,240 mm even as on August 21 and the final reading is likely to far exceed the 1961 levels by this month end, if rain forecasts are anything to go by,” he said.
Such unprecedented rainfall not seen in a time span of nearly six decades has led to severe flooding, landslips and damage to civic infrastructure in the region, including the road network within plantations.
The Pollachi-Valparai Highway has remained cut off for nearly a week due to landslide and so is the case with the inter-State highway between Valparai and Chalakkudi in Kerala, thereby making Valparai an almost inaccessible island.
With a shortage of fuel supply, prices of essentials have also shot up, he said.
Continuous rain with practically no sunshine since July has led to a severe drop in the green tea leaf crop harvest, which has already contributed to a significant loss of made tea production from the Anamalai region.
Workers have been unable to perform field operations for days together, due to the unending inclement weather, thereby adversely impacting their total earnings.
The resident estate population is living in constant fear of some natural calamity or the other hitting them without warning, as a result of the rains, he said..
Crop harvests in the other tea growing regions of the State like the Nilgiris District, Highways in Theni District and Manjolai in Tirunelveli are also on a sharp downfall.
Stating that production of rubber latex in rubber plantations in Kanyakumari District has also been badly affected due to inability of workers to tap the rubber trees because
of continuous rain, Pradeep Sukumar said that coffee crop in parts of the State has begun to witness leaf rot disease, due to prolonged wet weather.