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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Emu bubble - now Emu aplenty causes trouble

Many a times, when some material is entrusted and amount is exchanged, the material in trust serves as a collateral security – that is business economics.  The Emu bubble that has put farmers in trouble has put them in another quandary as reportedly 15,000 emus also fall victim to contract scam.  Not surprisingly, a Nation which spends more time on Cinema than anything else – resultantly inside Tamilnadu Paravai Muniyamma is more famous and better known that Geetha Phogat.

As more farmers and others reveal that they had invested heavily on Emu – Susi Farms and other Farms expecting their money to triple and more in shortest possible term, they also contend that they got carried by the tall claims in advertisements featuring film stars like Sathyaraj and Paravai Muniyamma.  None dared to ask, how the money would double and how there would be a steady market for the bird of Australian origin – the flightless Emu, whose toenails, feathers and meat all were claimed to fetch high cost in the market !!

Now the bubble has burst and people are worried of their investment as the Farms have stopped the promised payments – how easily people got carried by the offer of Emu Farms,  which demanded  Rs 1.5 lakh as deposits and the promised return of  Rs 6,000 per month for three years and – as a freebie,  a gold coin.     In a short time, farmers in the belt waited in long queues to deposit their savings and 100s of Emu farms sprung up in Salem and Erode.    The formula to success was simple – start Emu farm in around an acre, purchase up to 50 nos 3 month old chicks, provide good organic feed, drinking water  - in a few months, you will have well grown birds, breed to more and you have more money out of them…… dreams – chase dreams..

With the bubble bursting, there is news of more than 15,000 birds abandoned in Erode district alone, leaving the district administration and the police wondering how to handle the situation. While emus from one farm have been moved to a warehouse in Perundurai, birds from the second have been moved to a farm close to the Salem-Kochi national highway. All establishments owned by Susi Emu Farms have been closed since the disappearance of its founder and the birds have been languishing without feed since then.

According to the Administrators, the cost of feeding the abandoned birds could easily be around 1.5 lakhs per day.  TOI reports that when police contacted Dindigul-based  supplier of  Susi Farms, they  refused to provide any, citing  arrears worth 3 crore. The officials heaved a sigh of relief when the animal husbandry department informed them that the birds could survive on water for 20 days. The officials hope to resolve the issue by then.

The availability of birds in such a large numbers have put the authorities in a quandary.  They cannot manage these birds and there are no takers for the birds in the same local market, which happily bought them investing huge amounts of deposits – now perhaps none would have it, even if they were to be distributed free.  Feeding and maintaining them would be ‘white elephantine’

The Police reportedly have received more than 3,000 complaints against various emu farming companies, of which around 700 were against Susi Emu Farms. On Wednesday itself, over 500 investors had approached the Perundurai police seeking action against Susi Farms. Police have now hired a marriage hall to help the huge number of investors lodge their complaints. Police have appealed to all those who had been cheated to register their complaints. The officials state that it is a huge racket and they  can act against other big sharks involved in the scam only if the victims register their complaints.

There are stories of farmers who had hitherto raised rice, ragi and maize turned to emu expecting it too lucrative, getting carried away by the advertisements in local cable TV network and vernacular newspapers.   This is not the first time that people lined up to invest in avenues of which they knew nothing and they cared to check neither but invested huge amounts collectively only to end up losing the principal itself.  How naïve time and again they prove to be !! – and that happens in a State which has the reputation of being conservative and people not willing to take risks in equity and share markets.   Whether it is blade chit companies or MLM schemes or Emu or anything else – the basic pattern is that  none of them would have any documentation as people prefer to deal in cash.  

If you are wondering about the start of the post - Paravai Muniyamma is a Tamil folk singer who rose to stardom after some cinema starting with Dhool.  She has now appeared in many tamil films in support roles and conducts cookery show on TV too.  She endorsed Emu farm appearing in the advertisements.   .  Geeta Phogat  is the only Woman grappler representing India in Olympics.  She won India's first ever gold medal in women's wrestling in the 55kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She hails Bhiwani in Haryana.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
9th August 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. The modus is the same like the teak plantation scam and the earlier high interest rate deposits(remember Ramesh cars, easwari finance et al). And people are always looking for easy money, so remain gullible always.

    Incidentally, the Paravai in Paravai Muniamma's name stands for the village Paravai near Madurai and has nothing to do with birds!