The Madras High Court on its own took up as PIL reports of several hundred tons of paddy getting spoilt and issued notice to the state government asking it to submit details about storage facilities besides directing it to protect farm produce.
A special bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and Anita Sumanth took notice of reports in an English and Tamil daily in which it was stated with photographs that paddy which was kept in the open was spoiled due to the rains.
The bench also directed the government to take immediate steps to protect the farm produce, in particular the paddy cultivated in the delta region.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan made a note of the reports and forwarded it to Chief Justice AP Sahi seeking his permission to allow the court to take it up as a PIL.
In his note, the Judge said "In delta regions of the state there is a bumper harvest of paddy and for want of storage facilities the harvested paddy is stored in open places.
A week back there was a thunderstorm and as per weather reports it is likely to occur again."
A news item also appeared in a Tamil daily that on account of sudden downpour paddy stored in open places got spoiled, the judge said.
The chief minister has also issued a press release dated April 26 as to the availability of storage facilities in regulated markets.
"But in real practical sense it is yet to be put in place and that apart, procurement of paddy is not also taking place for want of funds," the judge added.
Since agricultural and allied activities are permissible during lockdown, the judge sought the permission of the Chief Justice to initiate 'suo motu PIL' on the issue.
The court also wanted the authorities to implement the instructions of the chief minister and a government order dated April 15 promising such facilities to store cultivated paddy and file a compliance report to the court by May 26.
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