DHARMAPURI: Farmers of Dharmapuri alleged that weekly markets held across the district are collecting illegal entry tolls from farmers to auction their livestock. The farmers stated that they are forced to pay Rs 50 per livestock.
The weekly market functioning in each of the 10 panchayats in Dharmapuri is crucial for the livelihood of farmers in the region. Farmers from other districts--Krishnagiri, Salem, Namakkal, and Erode--also arrive here to sell their livestock. all of them are forced to pay the entry fee, farmers said.
Commenting on the matter, P Ganeshan from Palacode said, “ Farmers arrive at these markets to sell lambs, calves, cows, oxen and even chickens. During these auctions, some people, who are claiming to work with panchayats, collect entry fees from farmers. Recently, I witnessed a farmer paying Rs 500 to bring his 10 livestock into the market held at Marandahalli panchayat for trade. This situation is more or less occurring in all panchayat unions.”
Another farmer, M Selvaraj from Nallampalli, said, “It is usually the people who take up the market tenders exploiting the farmers. There is no written norm stating farmers need to pay a toll to enter the market. This matter has been brought to the attention of the Animal Husbandry department and the Block Development Office.”
When TNIE spoke to officials in the Animal husbandry Department they said, the collector has instructed both the officials in the Block Development Office and the Animal Husbandry department to investigate the matter. “If such practices exist, action will be taken,” they said.