Farmers in western TN demand social security -T Ramakrishnan
Unable to sustain their primary occupation, many are said to have begun migrating to cities to work as daily-wage labourers
COIMBATORE: KM Ramagoundar, president of the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam and a farmer based out of Karugur, about 25 km from Krishnagiri, is a frustrated man these days.
“Even the so-called big farmers, who own five or six acres, have started going to Bengaluru, where they are working as daily-wage labourers. This only shows they are unable to sustain their basic occupation – farming,” Mr. Ramagoundar laments, adding that farmers leave their native places to work as coolies only to avoid embarrassment locally.
It is for this reason that the farmer-leader demands the formulation of a scheme along the lines of old age pension. “Let the next government pay Rs. 10,000 to each farmer,” he suggests, adding that he chose to withdraw his nomination to contest the Krishnagiri parliamentary seat on the basis of an assurance given by the ruling AIADMK that his demand will be considered after the election.
He is not the only one calling for social security for agriculturists. G. Ajithan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Banana Growers’ Federation and a resident of Mohanur in Namakkal, also favours it.
Explaining the importance of social security, Mr. Ajithan says the condition of agriculturists would have improved, had the Central government effectively implemented the key recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers, headed by M.S. Swaminathan.
The panel’s prescription of giving one-and-a-half times the cost of production was made, keeping in mind the requirement of the farmers to look after their families and meet their cost.
The farmer says that “unfortunately, the matter has been linked to possible increase in retail inflation. Eventually, we have been left in the lurch”.
Mr. Ajithan, who is also the State secretary (technical) of the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations, says those who are going to occupy power at the Centre should implement “three Ss” – better support price, sufficient supply of water and social security.
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