Mangaluru: As the Dakshina Kannada district witnessed heavy rainfall, plenty of arecanut crops have been damaged due to fruit rot disease this year. In order to extend help to the arecanut farmers, the horticulture department asked them to apply for compensation through their Village Panchayats and it fixed the deadline for the submission of these applications on September 15. As most of the farmers were not able to apply for the compensation within this timeline, they are now demanding that the deadline be extended.
It is a known fact that around 80 percent of the farmers in the Dakshina Kannada district, are engaged in arecanut cultivation. Around 65 hecatres of land in the district is covered in arecanut plantations. However, most of the arecanut crops were damaged this year due to the incessant rain. Though the horticulture department had asked the farmers to apply for the compensation by September 15, difficulties in availing RTC (Rights, Tenancy and Crops) was the main reason for the delay in applying for the compensation.
Though the spraying of pesticide (Bordeaux mixture) is necessary two times a year, most of the farmers sprayed pesticides only once because of the heavy rains. Some of the farmers did not spray pesticides on their crops even once as there was a shortage of skilled labour. This was one of the major contributors to the occurrence of fruit rot disease in most of the arecanut plantations in the district.
Deadline should be extended
Dasappa Gowda, a resident of Mandekolu village in the Sullia taluk told NewsKarnataka that he was not able to spray pesticides due to the incessant rains and the shortage of skilled labour. “Fruit rot disease has consumed most of my arecanut crops. I had been to the Taluk office to obtain RTC in order to apply for the compensation, but I did not get it on time. Hence, I was unable to apply for the compensation. As most of the farmers in our village have not yet applied for the compensation, the government should extend the deadline,” he says.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha district president Ravikiran Punacha, speaking to NewsKarnataka said that the government should give the farmers a few more days to apply for the compensation. While applying for the compensation, farmers need to attach RTC of their land, which is only available at the taluk centres. To get the RTC the farmers need to wait in a long queue which takes a lot of time, he added.
Release compensation for other crops
Ravikiran Punacha also urged the government to release compensation for other crops like pepper, cocoa and bananas, claiming that almost all the crops were damaged by the heavy downpour this year. “The government released compensation of only Rs 12,000 for a hectare of arecanut plantation in the year 2013. The amount should be increased as 60 to 70 per cent of the arecanut crops have been damaged this year. The government should fix the compensation at at least Rs 75,000 per acre. As crops like pepper, cocoa and banana also perished due to heavy rain this year, the government should release compensation for such crops also,” he said.
Applications will be received even after deadline says DD of Horticulture
Dakshina Kannada district Horticulture Department Deputy Director Pradeep Kumar told NewsKarnataka that they had already extended the deadline once before, from September 10 to September 15. “Though we set the deadline for the submission of applications on September 15, we have asked the Village Accountants (VAs) to accept applications even after September 15. The applications submitted after the deadline will be considered after discussing with the higher officials,” he said.