Are these Real Estate areas coming up here? This is the question anybody who passes the roads of these small villages of Siruvachhur, Sirkanpur, Nathakadu & Illupaikudi in the Perambalur district of Tamil Nadu. People see a change from old, about to fall houses to proper, independent houses where the people staying are mostly farmers. And people will think like this because of the large scale pest attack on the cotton crops about 5 years ago which had destroyed almost all the crops and put everybody under enormous debts.
Now, there are people working in the fields, de-weeding the plants and about to sow the plants. And of these people, the majority of them are women who are dropped to different places in the new Tata Ace mini trucks which they refer to as “Chinna Yannai” meaning Small Elephant in Tamil.
All these huge changes are only because of the use of the genetically modified cotton also called BT Cotton. And this region in Tamil Nadu is a proper place to study about the cotton cultivation as about 80,000 acres is used up for the cultivation of BT Cotton for almost 6 years now after the clearance from the Commercial Cultivation in India. The truth about this cultivation is that the farmers had stopped cotton cultivation after the enormous crop failure in 2002-03 after decades of cultivating it and had switched to cultivating maize. Only after BT cotton came into picture did they start cotton cultivation again and aren’t they glad that they came back to this.
These farmers state that after using BT cotton for cultivation instead of the conventional cotton cultivation, they have had to use almost 50% less fertilizers and micro-nutrients that they spray on the crops which saves about Rs. 7000 to Rs. 8000 per acre on pesticide costs giving them profits of almost Rs. 25,600 per acre.
People in all these villages have not only cleared their long pending dues but also constructed...