Achuthanandan draws flak for ‘not helping’ farmers

April 8th, 2008 - 7:05 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 8 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan came under attack from the opposition Tuesday for the delay in helping farmers who had lost their crops in the unseasonal rains last month. According to government estimates, around 20,000 hectares of crops were destroyed in the rains that lashed Kuttanad area in Alappuzha district.

“In the last two weeks, three farmers have ended their lives in the wake of the paddy crops being destroyed and all that the Achuthanandan government has done is to give mere assurances. Time is running out for farmers in Kuttanad and if help does not come, there is going to be disaster,” leader of opposition Oomen Chandy told reporters here.

However, state Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran assured that help was on its way.

“Close to 20,000 hectares of crops have been fully destroyed and in the rest of the areas, there has been partial loss. We will take a little more time in assessing the partial loss. We are working on it and we would do the needful,” Ratnakaran said.

“Compensation would be given in two days,” he added.

The government had earlier announced Rs.10,000 for each hectare of crop destroyed by the rains.

Standing crops in the affected area could not be harvested as the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and its farmers’ wing opposed deployment of harvesting machines, despite a severe labour shortage.

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