More than 150 farmers from Tamil Nadu have staged a protest in the national capital, demanding that the Centre declare a drought relief package and loan waiver for peasants from the southern state. Already into the second day of their protest at Jantar Mantar, the farmers from Tanjavur and Tiruchirapalli in the state's Cauvery belt have warned that they will continue with their stir until the government gives them a hearing. "We started our protest yesterday, but no one is ready to hear our issues.
We are not planning to give up the protest until we are invited for talks by the Centre," said Iyyakannu of Desiya Thenninthiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam. "We have no option other than protesting till our demands are met," he said. Around 170 'half-naked' farmers arrived at the PM's residence on Lok Kalyan Marg yesterday with skulls of farmers who allegedly committed suicide and begging bowls to mark their protest. "We want the Centre to announce Rs 40,000 crore of drought relief package, announce farmer loan waiver and assure us better support price for our produce," Iyyakannu said. The protesters also demanded for unification of river. "Though the state had sanctioned a drought relief package, it does not provide any relief as we are in deep crisis," said Iyyakannu. Early this year, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had sought a detailed report from Tamil Nadu after it took suo motu cognisance of media reports regarding the deaths of 106 farmers during a period of one month in Tamil Nadu. On February 22, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami sanctioned a sum of Rs 2,247 crore as drought relief to more than 3.2 million farmers.
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