Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has allotted a production subsidy of Rs 23.45 crore to rubber farmers just days after Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplany of the Thalassery Archdiocese put major political parties on notice for ignoring their plight.
The rubber growers have begun to receive the subsidy amount through their bank accounts. All subsidies due till February 28 have been allotted in the current instalment, the state finance minister's office said.
Of the total applications for subsidies worth Rs 120 crore, the State Government had earlier allotted Rs 30 crore. The procurement price fixed of natural rubber is Rs 170 per kg, while the current market price hovers around Rs 140. This difference in actual price and the minimum price fixed will be compensated as the production incentive.
The state government has received as many as 1.47 lakh applications from growers. The growers are required to forward their applications through the Rubber Production Societies in their respective locations. The societies will forward these to the Rubber Board, which in turn, will forward them to the State Government after due verification.
The formalities involved in filing applications often lead to a delay in releasing the incentive, said sources in the Finance Department.
Earlier, the State had raised its budgetary allocation towards farmer subsidy to Rs 600 crore.
A few days ago the Archbishop had warned that the Church would adopt a favourable stance towards the BJP if the Union Government raised the procurement price of natural rubber to Rs 300 per kg. Following this, the state and central leadership of the BJP came in support of the Bishop.
The quick release of the subsidy amid the debate over the Archbishop's remarks has triggered a political controversy with some terming it a bid to appease the rubber farming community which is predominantly Christian.