Farmers dumped vegetables on the road here on Monday staging a protest demonstration pressing a charter of demands in view of alleged losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the demonstration in front of the district collectorate, farmers dumped loads of ladies finger and lemon and raised slogans like "save farmers," and sought Rs 20,000 compensation per acre in view of losses due to the virus spread.
Holding green flags they said a plantain branch (vazhai Thar in Tamil), which was sold for Rs 400 before the outbreak of coronavirus, was now fetching only Rs 40. Similarly, ladies finger now had an offer of Rs two per kilo, cucumber a rupee or two and a piece of lemon just 50 paise, they claimed. Also, they listed other vegetables and alleged these too were being offered only pretty low prices in the market resulting in huge losses for the farmers. "Betel leaves and flowers wither away in the farms. We need justice and that is why we are staging a protest dumping vegetables," president, National South Indian Rivers Inter- Linking Farmers Association, P Ayyakannu told reporters.
In a petition submitted to district officials and addressed to Chief Minister K Palaniswami they listed the low prices for vegetables. Also, in view of the absence of functions and marriages witnessed during the normal times, sale of flowers, plantain and betel leaves and vegetables have been affected, they said and sought Rs 20,000 compensation from the Tamil Nadu government for the farmers.
"When a litre of water is being sold for Rs 20, a litre of milk is sought for Rs 15. Entire milk production by farmers must be procured by the government." All farm loans should be waived and remunerative prices should be offered including Rs 37 a kilo for paddy and Rs 5,000 (per ton) for sugarcane.
Compensation for crops destroyed by wild animals and removing alleged encroachments from irrigation channels were among the other demands. While Cauvery water was released from Mettur dam on June 12, it has not yet been let into the channels in Tiruchirappalli district, they alleged and wanted a minimum of 15,000 cusecs of water supply from the reservoir.
The Association also alleged that some tenant farmers were evicted from their land based on false complaints and sought action for a halt to such unauthorised steps.
In view of rise in fuel prices, the rent for farm equipment has increased and hence, farmers should be given subsidy for petrol and diesel, they said. After the protest, the vegetables dumped on the road was loaded on mini garbage trucks by corporation civic workers and disposed of.