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GOVERNMENTS

Relax paddy procurement norms to help farmers in Cauvery delta: Stalin

CHENNAI: Ready for harvest paddy crops spread over one lakh hectares in Cauvery delta region has submerged following unseasonal rainfall, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and urged relaxation of paddy procurement norms including stipulation on moisture content.

When paddy (Samba) is all set for harvest this month, heavy unseasonal rains in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai and Pudukkottai districts have inundated the standing crop covering one lakh hectares as per the state government’s preliminary assessment, Stalin said in a letter to Modi.

Samba is a long-term crop and it is the main crop for farmers of Cauvery delta region. Kuruvai is a short-duration crop.

Though all efforts are on to drain the water, “we are concerned that the moisture content in the harvested grain is likely to be much higher due to the exposure to heavy rains.” The heavy unseasonal rainfall necessitates relaxations in procurement norms, a mitigation measure, the Chief Minister said.

During similar instances in the past, including the last Kuruvai season, the Centre had accorded permission for relaxing norms on moisture content for paddy procurement based on the request of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC), the State procurement agency under the decentralised procurement scheme.

The current situation due to this spell of unseasonal rains warranted a similar relaxation now, so that the procurement can be smoothly completed, the Chief Minister said.

“Hence, I request you to issue necessary instructions to allow the TNCSC to procure paddy from farmers with moisture content up to 22 per cent and for relaxation in the minimum limit of immature, shrunken & shrivelled up to 5 per cent (as against 3 percent) and damaged, discoloured and sprouted up to 7 percent (as against 5 percent) with necessary value cut for this Samba crop also,” Stalin requested Modi.

Earlier, the Chief Minister said appropriate action would be taken on providing relief to farmers of the Cauvery delta region after looking into inputs from a panel of ministers and officials that studied damage to crops due to unseasonal rains.

On February 3, President of Tamil Nadu All Farmers Associations’ Coordination Committee P R Pandian visited the affected paddy fields in the Cauvery delta region and requested the state government to ensure compensation was provided commensurate with the losses. Around five lakh acre paddy crop, ready for harvest, was damaged due to the unseasonal rainfall, the farmers’ leader had said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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