CHENNAI: Several farmers associations across the State have thanked Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami here on Saturday for waiving off crop loans to the tune of Rs 12,110 crore. The farmers’ representatives met the Chief Minister at Kalaivanar Arangam, where the Assembly session was conducted, and thanked him.
Speaking to reporters, S Ranganathan, secretary of Cauvery Delta Farmers Association, said in the past, crop loans were waived through compensation received from insurance companies, but this was the first time that the principal loan amount had been waived. “We are grateful to the Chief Minister and we will not forget it.”
He added that the association had explained to the Chief Minister about the problems faced by farmers and urged him to take necessary steps for facilitating compensation from insurance companies. Expressing similar views, P R Pandian, president, Tamil Nadu Federation of All Farmers’ Association, said in-spite of the financial crunch, the State government had announced the waiver of crop loans. Thanking the government, he said, “At a time when nature supports for second cultivation, the State government’s support comes as huge relief for farmers from the financial burden.”
V Sathyanarayana, state secretary, Federation of Indian Farmers Association, said the Centre had announced crop loan compensation for Gaja and Okhi cyclones, and a group of officials also visited the field recently. “At a time when the Centre restricted the crop damage to two hectares per farmer, the State government has increased the ceiling to five hectares. Since farmers in Tamil Nadu are already not legally allowed to own more than 15 hectares of land, the Centre’s restriction of compensation for only two hectares is unnecessary. The waiver of Rs 12,110 crore is certainly a huge compensation.”
He added that such a huge volume of crop loans had never been compensated in the past. “In 2008, crop loans were waived off only for small farmers. Now, the loans of 16.43 lakh farmers have been written off. The farmers who were not eligible for bank loans anymore until a few days ago now have no debts. Hence, they can start a fresh life through bank loans hereafter. This a great decision, and the entire farmers fraternity is indebted to the government.”
P Vinayagamurthy, president, Kollidam Lower Anicut Farmer’s Association, said, “Five years ago, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa waived Rs 5,000 crore crop loans, and four years later, the EPS-led government has waived more than Rs 12,000 crore. “We express our heartfelt thanks to the government. The government has also taken efforts for building dams so as to conserve the rainwater from getting wasted in the sea.” G Sethuraman, president, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Nalasangam, Tiruvarur, and NH Raja Maiden, district secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Association, also thanked the State government. They said the move has enabled the farmers to get loans from agriculture cooperative banks.