NAGERCOIL: What does the future hold? This is the question harrowing every tenant farmer in the district. It was only last week that farmers went for distress sale to cut their losses after learning that only landowners would be compensated. With no ownership to the land, on which their standing crops were ravaged by cyclone, the suspense over their fate is yet to subside. The tale is similar at Sucindram in the district.
Sucindram near Nagercoil was one of the worst-hit places in the district. Gushing water and torrential rains ravaged paddy fields crushing the tenant farmers’ hopes of a rich yield. Shepherding cattle along with his wife, V Sukumaran, a farmer in his 40s from Karkadu near Sucindram, points towards his leased field, where once paddy was in full bloom. Now, the crushed crops lie buried under soil and bitumen.
“I do not own the property and have been cultivating this leased farm for the past many years. The 1. 5 acre on the South side of a newly-laid bypass road, was first inundated with water, and later soil and washed away bitumen landed on the field. This happened after a part of the road was dug up to drain floodwater,” he said. The plight of a similarly-sized field around 200 metres from Sukumaran’s field is the same.
Another aspect of the tragedy that struck farmers, and largely ignored, is about cattle death. Sukumaran lost two cows and two goats in the flood.
“I do not have ownership documents and am at a loss as how to apply for compensation,” he said. Sukumaran’s wife Rani says,”We have to pay the landowner. If we shell out the money for that purpose, we would be left with nothing to salvage the crops damaged in the rains. Most of the fields in the region are cultivated by tenant farmers. We were not aware of whether we are eligible for compensation,” she added.