HC seeks TN govt reply to PIL on direct purchases from ryots
Chennai, Apr 8 (PTI): The Madras High Court, while orally stressing the importance of the agricultural sector, on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to respond to a plea seeking the state administration to directly procure farm produce from farmers till the exit of the lockdown. A Division Bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice R Hemalatha before which the public interest litigation filed by G Rajesh, an advocate, also orally observed, IT sector may fall and other sectors may fall, but we cannot allow the agriculture sector fall which is the most important one.
The PIL sought the state government to procure perishable farm products (fruits and vegetables) directly from the farmers at the taluk-level till such time the lockdown is in force. The petitioner while referring to the Anthiyur Taluk, Erode district, which is the major agriculture and horticultural zones, said the traders in Chennai, Bengaluru and Kochi have not approached the farmers for the produce in view of the lockdown resulted in the wake of the coronovirus.
The farmers were facing a huge loss, the petitioner said. Even for paddy which is procured by the Tamil Nadu Civil supplies from February 2020, payments have not been made to the farmers, he submitted.
The petitioner, while referring to an order of Karnataka government which has given clearance to the purchase and distribute in the district- and taluk-levels for the purchase of perishable goods, sought an order from the court to the Agricultural Department of Tamil Nadu to procure the perishable farm products directly from the farmers at taluk- level till such time lockdown is in force. To this, the Assistant Attorney submitted that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has come out with the statement on April 4 giving certain exemptions and some relief to the farmers.
In this regard, the taluk-level, block-level and district-level agricultural officers have been nominated and their numbers have also been published to enable the agriculturalists to use the benefits and the petitioner may make use of the nominated officers, the AAG said. When the petitioner brought to the notice of the court that the details of such officials are not known to the agriculturalists, the bench directed the Tamil Nadu government to publish advertisements in newspapers and social media about the available facilities to the agriculturalists, so that they could be better utilised by the farmers.
The court further directed the Government to submit details of the payments made to the agriculturalists for the purchase of paddy and directed to file counter and posted the matter after two weeks..
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