Agitated farmers resort to road blockade in Alappuzha

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Alappuzha, Mar 30 (UNI) Irate farmers, agitated over the loss of paddy crop due to heavy summer rains, took to the roads today, blocking the Alappuzha-Chenganaserry road to demand immediate supply of reaping machines by the authorities.

More than 100 farmers blocked the road at Mankomp since this afternoon and threatened to commit suicide if the authorities did not take immediate steps to redress their problems.

A strong posse of police force, led by District Superintendent of Police H Nagaraju had reached the area and was trying to persuade the farmers to lift the blockade, which has led to hundreds of vehicles being stranded on the Alappuzha-Chenganaserry road, one of the busiest roads in the district.

The farmers blocked the road even as District Collector V K Balakrishnan had convened a meeting of farmers and agriculture department officials to resolve the problems.

The farmers said paddy crop was standing unharvested over thousands of acres in the Kuttanad area due to lack of reaping machines.

Meanwhile, heavy rains during the past two weeks had damaged paddy worth at least Rs 100 crore. Instead of holding meetings, the authorities should act immediately to provide reaping machines, they said.

Two farmers in the area have already committed suicide in the past one week after losing their crop in the rains.

State Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran today visited the house of Pushkaran (65), who allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison yesterday.

Not announcing any compensation for the family, the minister assured them of all help from the government.

Last week, another farmer, Gopinathan from Veeyapuram in Kuttanad, had allegedly committed suicide.

UNI XR ARC ROY SK KN1906

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