Nagai farmers, fishers pin hopes on Union budget

Farmers, fishermen and salt producers have urged the Centre to address their demands through the Union budget which will be presented on Tuesday.

Published: 01st February 2022 09:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2022 09:34 AM   |  A+A-

Union budget, bahi khata

Image used for representational purpose. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

NAGAPATTINAM: Farmers, fishermen and salt producers have urged the Centre to address their demands through the Union budget which will be presented on Tuesday.

Small scale salt producers in Vedaranyam are expecting an automatic renewal of the 20-year lease period of their salterns, which expired in 2021. The salt producers had submitted a petition to the Madras High Court in this regard, which was dismissed on December 22, 2021. Salt producers are facing ouster from the salterns and a fresh auction of lands.

“We are being driven out of our livelihood by the Union government decision and the High Court order. Over a thousand salt manufacturers and 25,000 salt production workers in Tamil Nadu will lose income. Our families were producing salt for generations before the government leased it. We urge the Centre to reverse the decision to auction our lands and also request renewal of our licences," V Senthil, secretary of Vedaranyam Salt Scale Salt Manufacturers Federation, said.

Fishermen representatives are seeking funds for the construction of fishing harbours, fish landing centres, net-mending shelters, auction halls and dry fish preparation platforms in the Union budget. The projects are yet to be approved owing to fund allotment. Fishermen have also sought for an increase in subsidies for the construction of fishing boats and reduction in the cost of fuel, which has skyrocketed over the past year.

“We request the Centre to provide tax-free diesel and also reduce the existing rates to make the fuel affordable for fishermen. We want schemes with strong fund support to encourage entrepreneurship among fishermen. We also want funds to be allotted for creating necessary infrastructure,“ RMP Rajendra Nattar, a fishermen representative from Nagapattinam, said.

Meanwhile, farmers have sought for a separate Union farm budget to address their needs.

“The Centre should fix the minimum support price as per the recommendations of National Farmers Commission. It should provide incentive for tenant farmers like it has been giving small and marginal farmers. The Centre should allot funds for the restoration of dead waterways by connecting with live waterways,” 'Cauvery’ V Dhanabalan, a farmer representative from Nagapattinam, said.

‘Arupathi’ P Kalyanam, a farmer representative of Self-Sustaining Green Villages Movement, said, “The allocation for farmers in the Union budget should be on a par with the allocation for defence sector to address the needs of agriculture. We request the Cnetre to provide interest-free crop loans up to `3 lakh to all needy farmers. The Union and State governments should take the initiative to create ‘self-sustaining green villages’ by creating infrastructure in each village for value addition and storage of produce.”

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