Farmers from Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Virudhunagar turned out in large numbers near the Travellers Bungalow at Kovilpatti on Tuesday, in response to a protest called by Vaiko, the general secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), to demand early disbursal of crop insurance benefits. The agitating farmers, led by Mr. Vaiko, carried placards urging the government to immediately disburse the insurance benefits.
The farmers, who were relying on rain-fed crops, had not been provided with insurance benefits over the last two years, and such delays were making their lives miserable, Mr. Vaiko said while addressing the protesters.
It was only after the MDMK called for a protest, that the State government issued a Government Order for disbursing insurance benefits for 2015-16. But, no farmer had received the benefits so far. Though the crop insurance scheme was introduced in 1985, many farmers were unaware of it, he added.
“Around 400 farmers, who suffered crop loss and were unable to repay their loans, have committed suicide, but the State government has concealed the truth,” he charged.
Farmers were considered the backbone of India, but negligence by the government had left their backbones broken. Several farmers, led by president of the Desiya Thennindia Nadigal Inaiappu Vivasayigal Sangam P. Ayyakannu, have been organising a series of agitations in New Delhi, but their legitimate concerns have been ignored, he said.
The MDMK leader said that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the time to meet Ministers from Tamil Nadu, he could hardly spare five minutes to meet the aggrieved farmers of the State and address their grievances.
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