TN farmers block trains in bid to save their paddy crop
Members of various farmers associations and Opposition parties staged rail roko agitations in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts on Sunday to urge the Centre and State governments to impress upon Karnataka to release water to save the standing paddy crop in the delta region.
Police took into custody 187 people for staging rail roko at Thanjavur junction. MDMK General Secretary Vaiko led the blockade of Tiruchy Chennai Cholan Express.
The CPI-affiliated Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam State Secretary B. Durai Manickam, CPI(M)-affiliated Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam State Secretary P. Shanmugam, DMK’s S. S. Palani Manickam, L. Ganesan and Durai Chandrasekaran, MDMK Deputy General Secretary Durai Balakrishnan and G. Udayakumar, CPI District Secretary R. Tirugnanam, CPI(M) District Secretary G. Neelamegam, Congress party’s P. G. Rajendran, VCK District Secretary Sokka Ravi, farmers’ associations leaders Kakkarai R. Sukumaran, Dravidar Kazhagam District President C. Amar Singh and IUML District President S. N. Ziauddin participated in the agitation.
Superintendent of Police T. Senthil Kumar led a posse of police at the junction. The police arrested a total of 168 protesters, including Mr. Vaiko, for staging the rail roko.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Vaiko alleged that the Modi government was always cheating Tamil Nadu. Farmers and political parties were now raising their voice against the bias being displayed by the Central Government on the Cauvery issue. Delta farmers had spent all their money on raising the samba and thaladi crops that would be ready for harvest after two more wettings. But Mettur dam did not have the water to meet their requirements.
In the current critical situation, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami must have led an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impress upon Karnataka the need to release water and save the standing crop.
“He has not done that and we condemn the Chief Minister for his lapse,” Mr. Vaiko said.
Karnataka was always scheming to deny Tamil Nadu its share of water. This year too, it had not released more than 100 tmc ft against the mandated 192 tmc ft. The BJP-led Centre had not bothered to constitute the Cauvery Management Board only with the view to garnering more votes in Karnataka and, in the process, the BJP perpetrated a treachery on the people of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Vaiko observed.
He warned the BJP and the Centre that more virulent agitations would soon follow.
In Tiruvarur district, CPI State Secretary R. Mutharasan led the rail roko and blocked the Ernakulam-Karaikal Express at Koradachery station. DMK District Secretary Poondi K. Kalaivanan, CPI District Secretary V. Selvaraj, CPI(M) District Secretary Sundaramoorthy, Thiruthuraipoondi MLA Adalarasan and more than 700 others participated in the rail roko and courted arrest.
Speaking to the media, Mr. Mutharasan said the State Government was in friendly terms with the Central Government and the BJP. The Chief Minister must use that relationship to get atleast 15 tmc ft water from Karnataka to save their standing crop.
In Nagapatinam district, over 500 people were arrested when they staged the rail roko. DMK District Secretary Gowthamman, CPI(M) District Secretary M. Selvaraj, MDMK District Secretary Mohan and others blocked a goods train carrying coal as part of their protest.
At Mayiladuthurai, more than 500 cadre belonging to the opposition parties were arrested when they blocked the Chennai-bound Cholan Express from Tiruchi.