Marking the passing of a month since Cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc in the region, a large number of coconut farmers took out a rally in Pattukottai on Saturday to express their grief over the loss of livelihood and also to put forward a charter of demands before the government.
With over 45 lakh coconut trees being felled by the cyclone in Thanjavur district, coconut growers in Pattukottai, Peravarani and Orathanadu areas are still unable to come to terms with the blow to their livelihood.
“A large number of coconut growers from Pattukottai, Peravurani and other places came together today to pay homage to the fallen trees, which we have been treating as sons in the family. It will take several years for growers to recover,” said V. Veerasanen of Pattukottai, who along with Pannavayal Rajathambi inaugurated the rally at Kasankulam.
A large number of men and women, carrying coconut leaves and placards, participated in the rally, organised under the auspices of Delta Ilaignar Ezhuchi Iyyakkam, Delta Kakkum Karangal and Indira Gandhi Youth Foundation.
They also took out a garlanded trunk of a fallen coconut tree on a van in a symbolic gesture of paying homage.
Reiterating their demand for hiking the compensation announced by the government for the fallen coconut trees, the farmers also sought waiver of all loans including crop, educational and self-help group loans.
They alleged banks were harassing women to repay the loans sanctioned through self-help groups.
Taking exception to the Tangedco asking consumers to pay the amount of previous billing cycle for the current month, the farmers demanded that the consumption charges should be waived as they did not get power supply for several days after the cyclone.
Meanwhile, a group of persons staged a road blockade at Pulichankadu Kaikatti near Alangudi in Pudukottai district condemning the failure of Tangedco to restore power supply to the villages, especially agricultural connections.
The agitators accused the Tangedco of making false claims that power supply has been restored.
Siva V. Meyyanathan and S. Reghupathy, DMK MLAs, office bearers of the Communist Party of India and others participated in stir.
They withdrew the road blockade after senior Tangedco, Revenue and police officials assured to take steps for speedy restoration of power supply. Villagers also resorted to road rokos at Maruthankudi and Karambakudi disrupting traffic.