Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam has announced that all parts of the state will be declared drought-hit, owing to the failure of the northeast monsoon last year. Land tax will be waived totally for farmers.
Panneerselvam also ordered rescheduling of farm loans, cancellation of land tax and compensation for lost crop to the drought affected farmers.
The worst drought in 140 years, triggered by a severely deficient monsoon, has forced over 65 farmers to commit suicide in the last two months, although the government claims 17 farmers have taken their lives.
Relief for crop failure would be paid as per an order notified in this regard on October 27, 2015. Crop cutting experiment would be undertaken to ensure that farmers received insurance claims.
A sum of Rs. 3,400 crore would be spent for desilting reservoirs and channels and restoration of lakes, which would also ensure employment for farming workers. The days of work for workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme would be increased to 150 days from the existing 100 days to ensure livelihood for farmers affected by drought.
Panneerselvam said a request would be made to the Centre very shortly seeking relief assistance to manage the drought situation. “Relief assistance will be extended to the crop damage of more than 33% as per guidelines under disaster relief. In line with this order, a sum of Rs 5,565 will be extended to farmers per acre of paddy crop,” he said.