“Motham Gangala kalisindi”, (everything got assimilated into Ganga) observes a distraught Palepu Bakkanna as he makes an assessment of the crop lost in the floods brought about by a now receding Penganga river. “We will have to look for work on others’ fields to keep the flame burning,” he tells his equally upset wife, Ashamma, while contemplating the future.
The farmer family from Kamai village located on the bank of the Penganga in Jainad mandal has lost crop in the meagre 2.4 acres of land for the third time in succession. In the current season itself, their field was submerged twice under 15 ft of water which came flooding as the Penganga breached its bank. “Please help me at the earliest as I desperately need to tide over the crisis,” he pleads with authorities as he talks about release of compensation for crop damage.Bakkanna, like many other Scheduled Caste farmers in Kamai, was allocated a piece of land under the Land Purchase Scheme of the SC Corporation in 1990. The seemingly useless stretch was converted into a productive unit by the hard-working couple over the years.
“I did not repay last year’s crop loan so I could not get financial assistance from the bank. This year I invested about Rs. 15,000 in sowing cotton, soyabean and red gram by borrowing it from a private money lender,” Bakkanna reveals.
Bakkanna was on the verge of tears when The Hindu asked him if could raise money from somewhere to go in for another round of sowing. “Who will lend me money knowing that I have nothing of the crop left to be able to repay the debt,” he says.
“Also, there is no guarantee that the seeds which are sown now will not be destroyed by another flood in the coming days,” he adds. “I can opt for cultivation of bengal gram in August provided the government comes to my rescue quickly,” he says of an alternative, which also applies to hundreds of other farmers whose crops were similarly devastated by the Penganga.
The farmer family from Kamai village has lost crop in the meagre 2.4 acres of land for the third time in succession