Private harvest machine operators charging Rs 500/hr more than last year: Thanjavur farmers

Farmers harvesting kuruvai paddy have complained of excess rent being collected by private harvest machine operators.

Published: 22nd September 2022 05:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2022 05:39 AM   |  A+A-

Kuruvai paddy being harvested with machines at a field in Thanjavur on Tuesday | Express

Express News Service

THANJAVUR: Farmers harvesting kuruvai paddy have complained of excess rent being collected by private harvest machine operators. According to sources, kuruvai has been cultivated on 72,816 hectares in Thanjavur district, which is a record in 49 years.

While the early kuruvai has already been harvested, the harvest of a major portion of paddy has just begun in the district. Farmers have alleged that private harvest machine operators are charging higher than what was fixed by the district administration after a tripartite meeting with operators, farmers and officials.

"The operators are charging up to Rs 3,000 an hour, which is more than last season's highest rent of Rs 2,500 per hour," said Sukumaran a farmer from Orathanadu area. In Tiruvaiyaru, the rent collected is around Rs 2,600 per hour, another farmer alleged.

However, the rent fixed by the district administration in January was Rs 2,350 per hour for belt-type harvesting machines. A Arputham, a farmer from a village near Thanjavur, told TNIE that harvest machine operators form a syndicate and charge higher rent.

"If we insist on the rent fixed by the district administration, the operators will not come to harvest our crops," said Arputham. Usually, harvest machine operators, who are mostly from other districts, nominate agents from the district to receive orders and collect money.

"These agents are getting up to Rs 300 to Rs 400 per hour as commission," he added. It may be noted that the agriculture engineering department rents out such harvesting machines at Rs 1,880 per hour. However, there are only six such machines available with the department in Thanjavur district, against hundreds needed.

When contacted, officials said the rent fixed in the beginning of the year still holds good and if any operator charges more, farmers could contact officials or motor vehicle inspectors of the transport department.


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