NAGAPATTINAM: Tension prevails in Sirkazhi following a stand-off between farmers and farm workers. Even as farm workers are opposing the use of machinery for harvest and hay bundling work citing loss of livelihood, farmers, armed with a Madras High Court verdict in their favour, are going ahead with the harvest.
For the past two days, police are standing guard to farmlands in Thiruvaali village as farmers employ machines to harvest paddy. With harvest underway in many parts of Sirkazhi, workers have approached farmers offering their services. But with farmers using harvesters, the workers find themselves jobless and started a protest a few days ago. Though the Sirkazhi tahsildar tried to broker a solution, the issues are yet to be sorted out.
In the meanwhile, farmers Dharmaraj, Prasanna Venkatesan and Revathi moved the Madras High Court and got a judgement in favour of farmers. The High Court directed police to provide protection to farmers harvesting crops using machinery. Speaking to Express, N Gunasekaran, district convenor, All India Rural Labourers Union, said, “Thiruvaali has more than 1,500 farm workers but this year, some farmers have deployed machines and the workers are rendered jobless. Though the RDO and tahsildar asked farmers to deploy farm labourers, the farmer received a favourable judgement. So, we led a protest in Sirkazhi against farmers for tainting labourers alleging we are damaging their lands.”