KOTTAYAM: The Rubber Board and farmers are equally worried over the continuation of the price-stability scheme of the previous government. The new administration has not given its nod for the scheme came as a reprieve after sharp price fall. So far, Rs 486 crore had been allotted to 2.8 lakh farmers in the state when only 3.66 of the 10 lakh rubber farmers had so far registered since August 2015.
Apart from the Rs 300 crore allotted initially, the former government had earmarked an additional Rs 500 crore in the last budget. The board officials said the new cabinet had so far not taken any decision on its continuation, hindering allocation of funds. “The farmers are worried over the indecision,” said E.P. Mathew, president of the Aruvikuzhy Rubber Production Society.
But Rubber Board chair A. Ajith Kumar is hopeful. “Let us wait for the budget,” he told this newspaper. The government had fixed a support price of Rs 150 per kilogramme, and the farmers would get the differential amount on submission of receipts for the rubber they had sold after registering at concerned societies.
Among registered farmers, at least 80,000 are yet to get the financial help under the scheme. No one could register after March 31. Those farmers who are having up to two hectares of the rubber estate are the beneficiaries.