Kammanti Ramulu, a farmer from this tail-end village of the Krishna-Eluru canal in West Godavari district, expects more than just waiver of farm loans from the new State government.
“What we need is not waiver of loans we obtained from banks but remunerative prices for our produce,” says Ramulu. “It [waiver] will only make us perpetual defaulters and lazy,” he adds.
With 12 acres under the canal ayacut, Ramulu feels “begging is better than cultivation”. In fact, there has been no second crop in the ayacut for the last 10 years, as water has failed to reach the tail-end fields from Krishna.
Vexed with water shortage and labour problems, Ramulu preferred to give up cultivation and gave away his land for tenancy farming four years ago. “Of course, I too borrowed Rs. 50,000 from the Cooperative Bank, and I also may be one of the beneficiaries of the government’s largesse. But, what I intend to say is that it alone cannot wipe out our tears,” he observes. He also wants the government to address the labour problem in agriculture as the top priority.
Myrasi Venkatesam, a farm worker from the same village, has his own take. He has seven mouths to feed, and his family requires 45 kg of rice a month. “I receive 12 kg rice for Re. 1 each through the Public Distribution System while purchasing 30 kg in the open market by paying more than Rs 25 per kg.” His children refuse to work in the fields like him and have diversified into construction work. Will Mr. Naidu keep both this farmer and workers with divergent views happy?