Pollachi Farmers to decide winner
Sops and schemes to protect and promote coconut cultivation seems to top the demands as far as Pollachi Constituency is concerned. Pollachi is synonymous with coconut trees getting it the name coconut town. With over 1 crore coconut trees, the town has the highest density of coconut the trees in the country. It is the key to the economy of Pollachi town and nearby rural areas. Farm houses amidst coconut farms are an upcoming tourist attraction in this town.
Most demands of the town can be redressed only by the State or Union Governments. They need a strong representative who will voice the grievances.
“Getting our rightful share of water from Kerala in the Parambikulam Aliyar and Anamalai Aaru projects that is due for decades will help irrigate coconut farms in Pollachi and nearby areas,” says K. Paramasivam project committee chairman of Thirumoorthy Reservoir of Parambikulam Aliyar Project.
Existing projects fetch water for only about a month or two a year. For the rest of the year the farmers are dependent on the rain and groundwater.
This reflects on the coconut productivity and allied industries such as copra and coir based industries in the town and its periphery. All the candidates have assured to get our share of water from Kerala (like the past). “Hope it happens at least this time,” he said.
Forming the Tamil Nadu Coconut Welfare Board (formed by DMK and dissolved by AIADMK), minimum support price for copra and opening up a government copra procurement centre are other major demands of coconut farmers.
The town that exports Rs. 600 crore worth coir pith and coir fibre annually is awaiting Pollachi Town of Export Excellence tag from the Commerce Ministry of Government of India. “The tag is given to towns with annual export of Rs. 250 crore would help in getting better connectivity among other advantages benefiting the industry. We made a representation to the Union Government and want the State to press this demand,” says S. Mahesh Kumar, President of Coir Pith and Allied Products Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The coir industry here mostly exports raw coir to China. Setting up an industrial park for making value added products, like door mats, ply boards and geo textiles. “While Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines and Brazil are into packaged tender coconut export in a big way, Pollachi would be the ideal place for that industry in India,” he said. “It will also provide nearly 25,000 new jobs and will help the industries and other stake holders,” Mr. Mahesh Kumar added.
Speedy completion of the Pollachi – Podanurbroad gauge conversion works and four-lane connectivity between the two places to decongest and make the roads safe, rail connectivity from Pollachi to Chennai and various parts of Kerala, ring road that will free Pollachi town from vehicles heading to Coimbatore (from Palladam, Udumalpet and Kerala) are other important demands of Pollachi.
Opening up more specialty departments in Pollachi Government Hospital and better drinking water facilities and other amenities to match the increasing population of the town are among other demands.
Pollachi assembly segment came into existence in 1951 and was part of the Madras Presidency. Noted industrialist N. Mahalingam was the first MLA of the assembly segment. He was the MLA of Pollachi thrice (1951, 57 and 62), after which he did not contest. The congress has not been successful in Pollachi since then.
In 11 elections from 1967, AIADMK has been the most successful party by winning eight times. DMK has won thrice. This time, AIADMK’s Pollachi V. Jayaraman who was returned to the house from Udumalpet in 2011 locks horns with R. Tamilmani of DMK. In 1996, Mr. Jayaraman lost to S. Raju (Tamilmani’s father), but defeated Mr. Tamilmani in the next election.
EDITOR : M.K. Ananth