Farmers who had taken up ‘kuruvai’ cultivation in Thanjavur district on a large extent of area with confidence after nearly a gap of nine years complain of procurement delays in Thanjavur district.
Kuruvai paddy cultivation was taken up on around 59,900 hectares (ha) in Thanjavur district this season as against 37,000 ha last year. The timely release of water from Stanley Reservoir in Mettur on the scheduled date of June 12 this year had enthused the farmers to take up `kuruvai’ cultivation on a larger extent of area this season.
According to official sources, the crop raised on about 40,000 ha was harvested by the end of September and nearly 7,71,000 metric tonnes of paddy was procured from the farmers through 166 direct procurement centres opened in the district till last month-end.
As the ‘kharif’ season 2020-21 has commenced from October 1, another 60 DPCs had been opened in the district for procuring paddy from the farmers, official sources said.
However, a section of farmers had a different story to narrate and counter the claims made by the officials with respect to the procurement of ‘kuruvai’ paddy.
S. Rajendran of Kannankudi Kizhaiyur in Orathanadu block laments that he was unable to sell the paddy harvested from his field at the DPC in view of the erratic functioning of the facility over the past few weeks.
“Paddy is procured for two or three days in a week and at the same time farmers are advised to bring their produce for measuring on the date fixed by the DPC staff. Thus we are finding it difficult to protect the produce from the vagaries of nature”, he added.
Endorsing Mr. Rajendran’s statement, Sundara Vimalanathan, secretary, Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, claimed that the change in procurement process adopted by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation this season had pushed the farmers to a piquant situation.
Asking the farmers not to bring the produce directly from their fields to the DPC and stock them at their houses/own godowns for inspection and issuance of tokens by the Corporation staff was unacceptable since individual farmers lack proper facilities to store the grains. The grains get drenched in rain or spoiled due to vagaries of nature which could not be avoided, he pointed out.
Further, only 600 to 700 bags of paddy are being procured per day at a DPC though the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation has to “instruct” the staff to step up the daily procurement to around 1000 gunny bags. Hence, there is a delay in the procurement process at the DPCs, he added.