Say there is no guarantee they will take at least 25 per cent of the produce

Farmers in the rain-hit area of the district on Wednesday poured out their woes to a visiting team of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) about what they described as considerable loss on account of crop damage in the heavy rains. They bemoaned that there was no guarantee whether they could take home at least 25 per cent of the produce.

TDP senior leader Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary and party district president Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, accompanied by a host of leaders from the delta area, visited flood-hit areas around Vuyyuru, Guduru, Machilipatnam, Pedana and Kaikaluru. They enquired from the farmers about the extent of crop loss and the help coming from the government.

More than the heavy rains, it was the water logging on a large-scale that caused heavy damage to the paddy crop with flood water remaining clogged in agricultural fields in the absence of free flow into the canals and drains. Farmers blamed it on the failure to carry out repairs to the drains.

‘State to blame'

Mr. Butchaiah Chowdary asserted that the government should take total responsibility for the crop loss as the farmers would not be able to recover paddy lying in water for so many days in the aftermath of recent rains.

“Had the government fulfilled its promise of delta modernisation even in a small measure, the damage could have been prevented to a large extent. It is deplorable that ruling party leaders and officials are not even bothering to visit the affected areas to address the needs of farmers,” he said.

Speaking to farmers at Tarakaturu village near Machilipatnam, Mr. Butchaiah Chowdary and Mr. Umamaheswara Rao said that tenant farmers were badly hit in the rains with 75 per cent of the paddy complete damaged, leaving no hope for them to repay the loans they had taken from private persons at high interest rates in the absence of such a facility from the banks.

Tenant farmers' plight

They said that 70 per cent of cultivation was now in tenant farmers' hands and there was a greater need to extend a helping hand to all of them as they were not getting benefits out of any subsidy.

The TDP leaders demanded that a compensation of Rs. 5,000 per acre be paid to all the farmers of the district, who were affected in an extent of nearly 2 lakh acres. They wanted discoloured rice to be purchased while ensuring a better price for the BPT rice.

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