TIRUCHY: The State government on Tuesday issued guidelines for procuring sugarcane from farmers for free distribution to PDS cardholders for Pongal. As per the order, only panneer karumbu or senkarumbu should be procured, maximum price would be Rs 33 apiece, and cane should not be shorter than six feet.
The price offered is 10 per cent more than last year. Payment should be made to farmers directly and immediately. No mediators would be allowed and buying should start after fixing the date of disbursal at ration shops. No advance procurement should be done and cane should be given to beneficiaries in full length without cutting the top leaves.
Reacting to the order, farmers said the guidelines have come at the eleventh hour unlike last year when authorities had inspected their fields much earlier. Manikandan, a farmer from Madhavaperumal Koil near Tiruchy, said, “Neither authorities nor cooperative societies responded properly when we asked them about cane procurement. If the guidelines had been issued earlier, last-minute rush could have been avoided.”