Weighbridge, boon to tribals

The weighbridge established at Top Sengattupatti in Pachamalai, a low mountain range about 80 km from here, has come as a big relief to tribes in measuring and marketing their produce.

Tribes of Pachamalai raise tapioca, mango, cashew, castor, millets and others. In the absence of weighbridge, they had to transport their produce by hiring goods carriers to Thoppampatti, Koppampatti or Attur in downhill for weighing and marketing. There were complaints of a section of traders cheating the farmers by forming a syndicate in fixing prices for tapioca. They accused the traders of fraudulent measurement as well as offering low prices.

Upset over the unfair trade practices, they took up the issue to the then Collector K. Rajamani when he visited Pachamalai about two years ago. It resulted in the establishment of a weighbridge at Top Sengattupatti. Operation and maintenance of the weighbridge was handed over to the tribes promoted Pachamalai Organic Farmers Producers Company Limited (POFPCL).

Now, the tribes feel that their produce is well measured. They think that the syndicate has been successfully broken.

“We were at the mercy of middlemen. They would siphon off a portion of our hard earned produce by fraudulent weighting practices. We think the weighbridge has addressed all the issues,” says Selvarani Manickam, a tapioca farmer of Nachilipatti.

Since the establishment of weighbridge in June, the POFPCL has generated an income of ₹ 2.38 lakh by way of user charges. It has measured 30,000 kg of tapioca and 3,500 kg of mango and cashew.

A. Sokkanathan, Chief Executive Officer, POFOCL, said there had been total transparency in measurement and fixing price for tapioca. It was fixed based on starch content. A scale for measuring the starch content had been bought at a cost of ₹ 15,000. It would measure the starch content in tapioca.

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