TN announces relief measures to Thane-hit farmers

Chennai: Tamil Nadu government today announced a series of relief measures to farmers in the Thane cyclone-affected Cuddalore district, including a sum of Rs 210 crore as compensation for damaged crops.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said standing crops including cash crops over 2.24 lakh hectares had been completely damaged due to the cyclone, which hit the district on December 30, thus severely affecting the farm sector. "I have directed that compensation be paid above the Central government stipulations and Rs 210 crore will be disbursed as relief for damage to crops alone," she said in an official statement here.

Further, as part of a package to the farmers in Cuddalore, saplings of coconut, cashew and jackfruit would be given without any cost and the government would bear the maintenance cost for a year, she said.

Farm labourers would be paid wages under the MNREGA and this would cover farmers who take up works in their own land also, she said adding government would provide a Mini Kit comprising seeds and fertilisers to farmers who take up plantation of pulses.

This Mini Kit would be given free of cost, Jayalalithaa said, adding the package would benefit 3.45 lakh farmers in Cuddalore.

Infrastructure was the worst affected, with roads and water lines damaged due to the cyclone fury and four lakh huts and tile-topped houses have been damaged, she said adding 5,000 personnel of the TNEB would be added to the existing 3,000 who are working round the clock to restore power lines. Restoration works were on on a "war-footing," she added.