CHENNAI: Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman on Wednesday met three union ministers and put forth memoranda relating to key demands — hiking the price for milling copra, taking expeditious steps to include Narikuravas grouped with the Kuruvikkaran community in Scheduled Tribes list, widening of railway track in the Dindigul-Pollachi section of NH-209 and upgrading of the State Highways no 19 and 78A as National Highways.
In his memorandum submitted to Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh, Jayaraman said the price for milling copra should be fixed at Rs 100 per kg for the current season instead of Rs 75 per kg fixed by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to help coconut farmers in getting a reasonable price. Even Rs 90 per kg recommended by Tamil Nadu government would be meagre, he added. Jayaraman recalled that the CACP had recommended minimum support price (MSP) for milling copra at Rs 7,500 per quintal and for ball copra at Rs 7,750 per quintal, as against the recommendation of Rs 9,000 per quintal for milling copra and Rs 9,500 per quintal for ball copra by the Tamil Nadu government for 2018 season.
Explaining how coconut farmers in the State would end up getting a very poor price for milling copra with the price recommended now, Jayaraman said the average production of nuts in Tamil Nadu was 12,000 numbers per hectare (past four years average). For producing one tonne of milling copra, 8,000 nuts would be required.
“Therefore, from 12,000 nuts, 1,500 kg of copra can be produced from one hectare. The CACP had recommended Rs 75 per kg of milling copra, which means a farmer cultivating one hectare of coconut on converting his yield to copra will realise Rs 1,12,500 per hectare.The net cost of production of one tonne of milling copra is Rs 71,600. So, for producing 1,500 kg of copra, the production cost will be Rs 1,07,400 per hectare. Hence the farmer will have a net realisation of Rs 5,100, which is a very poor income for a farmer cultivating one hectare of a perennial crop,” Jayaraman observed.
In the memorandum submitted to Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram, Jayaraman urged the former to take steps to include Narikuravas grouped with Kuruvikkarans in the Scheduled Tribes list of Tamil Nadu. Jayaraman recalled the efforts made by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in this regard. Since the Centre has decided to modify the list of STs in respect of five States -- Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura -- necessary steps should be taken to amend Article 342(1) and 342 (2) of the Constitution for inclusion of the Narikuravas grouped with the Kuruvikkaran community in the ST list, he added.
In his memorandum to Nitin Gadkari, the Deputy Speaker sought an expeditious widening of railway track in Dindigul-Pollachi section of NH-209 and upgrading of the State Highway no 19 and 78A as NH.