Meeting Thiru SK Paramsivan at his village Chinniampalayam. Thiru Paramsivan now 102 became the founder Chairman of Erode District Milk Producers Cooperative Union
On a hot afternoon, I visited Chinniampalayam, a village ten kms from Erode, to meet Mr SK Paramasivan, a progressive farmer, cooperator and a former Member of the Parliament. After preliminary introduction, I explained to him the purpose of my visit: to organise Anand Pattern milk cooperatives under the Operation Flood programme.
Making a face, he retorted that cooperatives, as a whole, had failed in Tamil Nadu and that the people have lost faith in cooperatives. He was a member of the Erode Cooperative Milk Supply Union and had bitter experience of the Union: it served neither the producers’ nor the consumers’ interests. I allowed him to ventilate his feelings on the cooperatives which he did for about thirty minutes. At the end, I made a request to him to give me an opportunity to talk to the farmers of Chinniampalayam. He welcomed the idea, though reluctantly, and agreed to convene a meeting. The date and time were fixed. I thanked him and left, assuring that I will meet him at the appointed time.
I, along with members of the Spearhead Team, reached Chinniampalayam exactly at 6 pm (the appointed time) and met Mr Paramasivan. He was surprised to see us exactly at the appointed time because he confessed later that no government officer ever came at the appointed time! The farmers had already assembled for the meeting: about fifty of them were ladies. Paramasivan introduced me to the farmers and asked me to talk. It was always my practice to collect as much information as possible on the village, farmers, number of milch animals (buffaloes), facilities for disposal of milk and the problems faced. I had collected this information in respect of Chinniampalayam, in advance.
Addressing the farmers in broken Tamil, I told them about the problems they were facing in keeping buffaloes and producing milk: high cost of feeds and fodder, lack of AI and animal health care facility and exploitation by the agencies that collected the milk. I explained to them how the farmers in Anand solved these problems by forming milk cooperatives. I also told them about the Operation Flood programme and organisation of Anand Pattern cooperatives as a part of this programme. The programme will be implemented in seven districts in Tamil Nadu which included Erode also. NDDB had placed a Team in Erode to help the farmers in organising Anand Pattern cooperatives. The farmers listened with rapt attention and I could notice on their faces signs of willingness to try out the pattern.
When the meeting was about to conclude, Paramasivan got up and said “we have a farmer in our village, Raju, a communist. He was in the habit of opposing all good things saying good things happened only in Russia and China. You take him to Anand and let him see the developments there. If he is convinced, you can take it that our entire village is convinced”. Thus saying, the meeting ended.
As a part of the Farmer Induction Programme, Raju was deputed to Anand along with other farmers. He spent a few days at Anand, went around the villages and saw for himself the changes that had taken place due to milk cooperatives. On his return to Chinniampalayam, Raju told the farmers what he had seen at Anand and that if any good thing had happened anywhere in the world, after Russia and China, it was at Anand. Further, he said that was the last chance for them to develop their village and that they should wholeheartedly accept and support the programme.
Chinniampalayam was one of the eight “Anand Pattern” cooperatives that we had organised in the first lot, with Paramasivan as its Chairman. Today, it is one of the most successful cooperatives.