Thanjavur: Ryots still wilt under Gaja cyclone impact

A total of 68,891 tiled houses were partly damaged while five houses were fully damaged.

Thanjavur: It will be one year on November 16 this year after the Gaja cyclone wrought havoc in Thanjavur district last year. But the problems of delta farmers particularly coconut farmers who lost their trees, are far from over.

“We have to wait for another six to seven years to get yield from the seedlings we are replanting now” they told Deccan chronicle on Monday.

“Our economy is in ruins. Only when the seedlings we replant now, start giving yield, may we think of making both ends meet” many of them in Pattukottai, Orathanadu, Pearvurani areas of Thanjavur district, worst affected by Gaja cyclone, said. .

While both government and non-government organisations and volunteers reached relief, provided seedlings after the cyclone, many farmers say that government relief had not reached them yet. However replantation of coconut seedlings in the place of trees that were uprooted in the cyclone, is going on in many places. “It will take another six or seven years for us to get the yield” they said.

P.R.Pandian, co-coordinator of Thamizhaga anaithu vivasaya sangangalin orunginaippu kuzhu said that ten districts were devastated in Gaja cyclone. “Nearly one crore coconut trees were uprooted in these districts. Out of them relief had been given to 60 lakh trees while relief is yet to reach another 40 lakh trees. Officials say that these trees have not been included in the Adangal. This is not the fault of farmers” said Pandian.

With respect to Thanajvur district, Gaja uprooted 36,99,197 coconut trees in Orathanadu, Pattukottai, Madukkur, Peravurani and Thiruvonam areas. Officials say that relief to the tune of `409.28 crore have been given to 57429 farmers. This is at the rate of `1100 per coconut tree. Besides uprooting coconut trees, Gaja damaged 1,41,179 huts and tiled houses in Thanjavur district. Out of them 17,614 were fully damaged while 54668 were partly damaged.

A total of 68,891 tiled houses were partly damaged while five houses were fully damaged. “Compensation to the tune of Rs 5,000 per hut for fully damaged, Rs 4,100 for partly damaged huts, Rs 5200 each for partly damaged tiled houses and Rs 95,100 for fully damaged houses have been given” said officials, adding, `three crore worth of relief had been given to farmers who lost their livestock including poultry.

Re-plantation is the major work that has to be undertaken by farmers as they don’t have a long term solution for the devastation they had suffered due to Gaja. According to Agriculture department officials, re-plantation has been done in 50 per cent of the total area affected in Thanjavur district. “Our target is to distribute 24 lakh coconut seedlings. We have so far distributed 14 lakh seedlings. We have supplied east coast tall variety. Re-plantation may be completed in the entire affected area in Thanjavur district in another two months time. But it will take six to seven years for trees to yield” said agriculture department officials.

Many non-governmental organisations came to the rescue of farmers after the cyclone. According to R. Pannirselvam, managing director of Cauvery delta agro producer company ltd, which organised relief measures and distribution of 14,000 coconut seedlings to affected farmers through Hope foundation and Reaching hand, two NGOs said that farmers who got the seedlings have completed replanting in Peravurani and Orathandu areas. Accor hotels and Del company provided the seedlings through the NGOs.

Sami Nadarajan, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam said that government relief had not yet reached 25 per cent of the affected farmers in the district.

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