KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government has been urged to waive water tax imposed on 8,000 padi farmers owing to the dry season.
The RM10 per hectare levied annually was a burden to the farmers, especially when their income was unstable as their padi planting was being disrupted by the lack of irrigation water, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“Presently, the farmers are paying RM250,000 annually as water tax to irrigate their padi fields. It would help if it is waived,” he said after meeting the farmers at Tanjung Puri here yesterday.
Ismail added that the ministry would also assist the farmers to buy 300 mobile suction pumps worth RM400,000 to enable the farmers to draw water from the Kelantan river.
The Government had also agreed to build weirs to solve the water and irrigation problems.
“I expect the weirs to be ready by 2015,” he said.
On another matter, Ismail also claimed that the uncontrolled issuance of sand mining permits in Sungai Kelantan was a contributory factor to the farmers’ woes as it had affected the efficiency of the irrigation canals to channel water to the padi fields.