The raging protest over the reported non-implementation of minimum support price for paddy and acute shortage of gunny bags is likely to cast a shadow over the fortnight-long government-sponsored ‘Rytu Chaitanya Yatras' which began on Tuesday. The official machinery seems to be feeling the pinch of the growing unrest among farmers over the glut in the paddy market.

The start of the programme was marked by angry protests from farmers at Elurupadu under the Kalla mandal, Somavarappadu in Denduluru mandal, Darbhagudem in Jeelugumilli mandal and several other parts of the district. M.V. Suryanarayana Raju of the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Karyacharana Samithi, in a memorandum submitted to the officials present at the programme at Elurupadu, said that the local IKP centre could not procure more than 150 quintals as against the production of 4 lakh quintals in 15,000 acres in Undi mandal. Similar scenes were witnessed at Somavarappadu where Maganti Sitarama Swamy of the Andhra Pradesh Rytanga Samakhya highlighted the problems of paddy growers. In the run up to the so-called Rytu Chaintanya Yatras, TDP MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar hit the road, holding the official machinery responsible for the tardy progress of paddy procurement in his constituency. During a visit to an IKP centre, he was confronted with the complaints from the farmers that the paddy procurement was hindered by acute shortage of gunny bags. The bags supplied to the IKP centres at Kovvali and Denduluru under his constituency by the official top brass were hardly sufficient for procuring only 30 per cent of the produce, which reportedly acted as ammunition for the TDP to fight it out. In a similar fashion, TDP MLA T.V. Rama Rao of Kovvuru got an IKP centre at Annadevarapeta under the Tallapudi mandal locked up on Monday as a mark of protest against its alleged failure to accept the produce from farmers. He charged that not even a grain did the centre procure since its opening a month ago.

The TDP another MLA V. Sivarama Raju placed paddy bags across the railway track and staged a protest a few days ago. Meanwhile, the launching of the programme today turned out to be completely an official affair as the ministers and the ruling party MLAs remained in Hyderabad for consultations with Ghulam Nabi Azad, in charge of the APCC from the All India Congress Committee.

  • Official machinery responsible for the slow procurement, says TDP MLA

  • ‘Bags supplied to the IKP centres at Kovvali, Denduluru are not enough'