Thanjavur farmers’ woes – Realtors strike gold

M Chandrabalan of Kabisthalam in Thanjavur district is in distress. He is desperately awaiting a prospective buyer for his eight-acre farm, which was being used for cultivation of paddy, banana and sugarcane crop till a few years back. “My land is up for sale. There is no water, power or labour to raise the crop. Why keep it idle,” he said, summing up his angst and that of other farmers in the region.

Property deals are on the rise in Tamil Nadu’s rice bowl, the Thanjavur region, comprising Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam. Latest data compiled by the registration department indicated that barring Thanjavur (6.07%) and Chennai (5.75%), the state has seen a fall in property deals by 1.38% compared to last year. Chennai comprises Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts as well.

Poor monsoon, coupled with rising costs of essential commodities, resulted in huge parcels of agricultural land being put up for sale in the delta region. “It is a distress sale to meet the domestic expenses rather than a spurt in real estate activity,” said Sundara Vimalnathan, secretary, Cauvery Farmers’ Protection Association, Thanjavur. While farmers of Thirukattupall-Thiruvaiyaru belt feel it is shameful to sell what they term ‘family treasure’, the farmers of Nagapattinam could not bear to see the dry patches of their land anymore.

Officials said the distress was evident at grievance redressal meetings in the district collectorates, where farmers cited lack of water supply from Mettur reservoir for selling prime land. The worsening power crisis has also taken a toll on agriculture. “Erratic power supply has hit us badly,” said M Balasundaram, a farmer from Thiruthuraipoondi. A drive down State Highway 23, between Tiruvarur and Thiruthuraipoondi, shows huge foundation pillars marring the pastoral beauty of the region, giving enough indication of the real estate activity.

In Chennai, the southern suburbs and Chengalpet see overwhelming response from buyers. “Layouts in Madurantakam , Sriperumbudur, Uthiramerur and Thiruporur sell like hot cakes,” sources in the registration office said.

In all, 26.53 lakh properties have been registered last year, fetching 8,056 crore for the state exchequer, which is 600 crore more than last year.

Source: The Times of India, Chennai