Jaya Blames Karnataka For Delta Farmers' Plight

Chennai, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2003, 05:30am hrs
The non-cooperative attitude of Karnataka is responsible for the plight of farmers in Cauvery delta region, according to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, she said ``the Karnataka government's non-cooperation has led to the withering of crops in the Cauvery delta and making the rice bowl of the state empty. For want of water in Cauvery, the long-term samba paddy crop raised in over 8 lakh acres, is withering''.

The farmers were also not able to raise the kuruvai crop.

She also condemned the opposition criticism of the free lunch scheme introduced by her government for the poor farmers and farm workers in the state.

She said without appreciating the government's free lunch scheme, which was to avoid the starvation of farmers, some political parties and newspapers had criticised the scheme and described the criticism as `politically motivated'.

Referring to the opposition charge that her government had made the farmers as `beggers' by the scheme and the government, instead of free lunch, should provide foodgrains, she said if foodgrains were provided, there was a scope for malpractice.

Only after studying various proposals, the government had come to the conclusion that the free lunch to the farmers could solve the problems of farmers, she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa denied that the government had fixed a ceiling of 50 persons to a noon meal centre.

``In fact, in some of the centres, the government was providing lunch for more than 500 farmers,'' she said adding that already 8.94 lakh beneficiaries had registered themselves for availing the scheme on their own.

She said the time for registration had been extended up to January 31 and nobody would be denied food in the noon meal centres.