With the Meteorological department reporting the possibility of heavy rains in northern Tamil Nadu in the next few days following a depression in the southwest Bay of Bengal, farmers have geared up to save the harvest by shifting it to Direct Procurement Centres (DPCs) of the Civil Supplies department.
Yellow and Orange alert has been issued on Thursday in delta and coastal districts of the state for the next 48 hours.
The state agriculture department has also directed the farmers to plan the harvest, if any, before the rains using more manpower and to take steps to save the harvest-ready crops.
The Met department has stated that the depression in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a deep depression and to move northwestwards and off the east coast of Sri Lanka towards the North Tamil Nadu coast in the next 48 hours.
According to the state agriculture department, most of the paddy has been harvested but still 30 per cent of Samba and Thalady season paddy has to be harvested. In addition to this, several tonnes of harvested paddy is kept outside DPCs for sale.
K. Subramanian, Secretary of Cauvery Delta farmers association told IANS, “Even after completing the harvest, we have kept our paddy outside the local DPCs but with the rains being announced by Met department, we have to erect tarpaulins covers and to guard our paddy from being destroyed. If the paddy gets wet, we will have to spend heavily to dry it and repack it which is a big loss for us. We want the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies department to quickly procure the paddy.”
Chief Minister has already directed the Civil Supplies department to immediately take steps to procure the paddy from the DPCs and to open more DPCs in coastal and delta districts. The agriculture department has also directed farmers who have not harvested their paddy to immediately do so.
A senior officer of the state civil supplies department told IANS, “We are on a war footing at around 15 districts of the state for procuring paddy and we have more or less 50 DPCs in each district. Each DPC is procuring around 1000 bags per day and each DPC has about 4500 bags which they have procured earlier. Around 18 DPCs will be opened in each district to increase the procurement of Paddy and for this, the respective district collectors have already issued orders.”
The official said that special guidelines have been given to DPC workers to immediately move the procured paddy into government warehouses and tarpaulins in large quantities have been provided to each DPC for preventing the loss of harvested paddy from sudden rains.
P.R. Rajamuthu, a farmer from Tiruchi district told IANS, “We were slowly recovering after the Covid pandemic and the previous year’s rains that destroyed our crops. We urge the civil supplies and agricultural departments to jointly work in an emergency manner and to help us procure the harvested paddy and store it in warehouses so that the paddy farmers of the state are not devastated if sudden unseasonal rains come as predicted by the IMD.”