Farmers’ organisations of the district have urged the State government to sanction compensation for banana growers whose crops were felled by gusty winds last week in a few villages in the district.
Fully grown banana trees were found flattened in Allur and Pazhur areas near Jeeyapuram and in a few other villages.
Puliyur A. Nagarajan, president, farmers’ wing of Tamil Maanila Congress, claimed that banana trees in over 100 acres were affected in Allur and Pazhur. Farmers had cultivated Nendran and Elarasi varieties and they suffered heavy damages.
Mr. Nagarajan demanded that the affected farmers be sanctioned ₹3 lakh an acre as compensation. Under the current norms, a meagre sum of a few rupees was being sanctioned for a tree. This should be changed and the compensation increased to ₹300 per tree.
He also claimed that banana crops in other pockets in Panayapuram, Vayalur, Thottiyam and Manachanallur areas had been affected and demanded a complete survey to fully assess the extent of the damage.
Mr. Nagarajan, who submitted a petition to District Collector K. Rajamani on Monday, said the Collector had promised to send a report to the government and take steps to get the compensation sanctioned.
Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the Communist Party of India, said the damage has been caused at a time when the crop was on the verge of being harvested. “The harvest would have been completed in a month’s time and the affected farmers have been devastated due to the heavy losses incurred after spending heavily on the crop,” Mr. Sivasuriyan said.
The farmers had also spent heavily on irrigating the crop by pumping water from borewells as the water supply in the irrigation canals was inadequate. They spent up to ₹2 lakh an acre, he claimed.
Mr. Sivasuriyan also pointed out that in the past banana growers, who sustained such losses, had not been sanctioned compensation even after a survey by the district administration. At least this time, the affected farmers must be compensated.
Enquiries with the Horticulture Department revealed that the extent of damage could be around 150 acres in Allur and Pazhur villages. The survey had been completed and a report would be submitted to the District Collector on Tuesday, sources in the department indicated.