Kannaian said that the report was forwarded to Chief Secretary and the team tried to meet with Agricultural Department but has not been able to. He said “While TamilNadu Government has continued to deny the agrarian crisis as the cause of farmers’ suicides, after the Governor’s speech (check date), the Chief Minister has announced a 3 lakh rupee compensation for affected families. We are following to check if the compensation is reaching in the new deaths that are being investigated and have found that in some cases, the compensation has reached the families”.
Stating that while Agriculture is State Subject, lots of related subjects such as trade, water policy come under the Central Government, Mr. Kannaian said the “State Government is not only culpable for the farmer suicides. The center has a major role. Instead of denying the crisis, the State should setup a investigation agency to probe this further”. While deploring the anti farmer policies of the Centre, he also called for enhanced compensation from the Central Government.
Due to the agricultural crisis, there is insufficient employment opportunities for agricultural workers are who are migrating to other parts to find work. He said “However, with industrial regions such as Tiruppur in crisis, the workers are not finding enough opportunities and are coming back”.
While the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Workers Welfare Board covers agricultural workers and farmers having land holdings less than 5 acres, the existing accident coverage of Rs 1 lakh does not cover suicides. “The implementation of the board is very cumbersome. Just to give an application, the farmer/worker needs to approach Taluk, Tehsildar, VAO’s office making it difficult for workers to access the welfare. The scope and coverage of the board needs to be extended and implementation streamlined” said Mr. Kannaian.