NAGAPATTINAM: Nagapattinam became the first district conduct a farmers’ grievance redressal meeting through video-conferencing amid the lockdown on Thursday. Farmers from the district had been urging for the meetings to be held at the earliest as they had not been staged for two months due to the lockdown, as highlighted by TNIE. The district administration responded to the grievances and conducted the farmers’ grievance meeting through the Zoom Cloud Meetings app. “We are glad to say we are the first district in Tamil Nadu to conduct the grievance meeting through video-conference. Apart from a few technical glitches, we were able to pull it off. We would hopefully conduct more such meetings and could present them as a model to be followed by other districts,” said Joint Director of Agriculture S Pannerselvam.
Eight to 10 farmers were called from each block to the 11 block development offices in the district. They were locally coordinated by the BDOs and block agricultural officers. They were made to sit in front of projectors in the offices. The conference meeting was coordinated at the district level by District Collector Praveen P Nair along with a group of officials. The conference took place for 40 minutes with multiple sessions. After a few hours, the farmers were asked to summarise from each block rather than each farmer addressing the video-conference.
Farmers were full of praise for the unique undertaking. However, they were also annoyed sessions ended even as they were speaking. C Sabanathan, a farmer from Thirukkuvalai (Keezhaiyur block), said, “We did not get sufficient opportunities to speak. We request the meeting be held agsin so those who could not speak can be heard.”
The farmers raised several issues, including the opening of Mettur dam in the first week of June, desilting the channels of the Vennaru in South Nagapattinam district ahead of kuruvai and Mettur water release, pending crop insurance dues, continued supply of power, stakeholder meetings for kuruvai and arranging for kuruvai-comprehensive schemes.
“Most importantly, the administration must stress on making Cauvery Water Management Authority an independent body again without it being absorbed by the Water Resources Ministry,” said S Sambantham, a farmer representative from Thalaignayiru block.