Staff Reporter

Issue raised at ‘rytu sadassu’

Congress leader agrees with TDP on the problem

Government urged to find a solution

ELURU: The problem of acute shortage of farm hands dogs the government-sponsored ‘rytu sadassus’ in West Godavari district. The peasant representatives brought to the fore the issue at a maiden ‘rytu sadassu’ at Devarapalli under the Kovvuru revenue division.

“Leave alone the shortage of seed and the menace of pests. We want the acute scarcity of agricultural workers to be addressed by the government on a war-footing first,” G. Murali Ajitkumar, mandal parishad president (TDP), appealed to the government. “If situation will continue like this, farmers will have to give up agriculture in the days to come,” he said.

Interestingly, Undavilli Aruna Kumar, Congress MP from Rajahmundry, joined chorus with the TDP leader. He recalled that there was an uproar on the issue by the farmers who gathered at the house of former union minister S.P.B.K Satyanarayana Rao in East Godavari district recently in connection with the visit of Union Minister D. Purandhareswari.

MP’s view

Mr. Arun Kumar held the faulty implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme by the official machinery responsible for the problem. Guidelines were very clear to the effect that the scheme should be implemented only during the off-season relating to agricultural operations so that farmers would not face any shortage of man power. But what was happening pertaining to the scheme was quite contrary and that the personnel concerned needed ‘counselling’, the MP said. Another farmer said intensification of mechanisation in agriculture was the only answer to the problem. He wanted the government to supply machines to farmers at subsidised rates.

Maganti Sitarama Swamy, president of Rytanga Samakhya, had his own story to tell. “Take my own story for instance. I had to lease out my 12 acres of land at Somavarappadu in Denduluru mandal since I could not continue cultivation for want of workers,” he said while talking to The Hindu.

Only old people were still sticking to the traditional farm work even as their younger counterparts left villages either in pursuit of education or for diversification into the other ‘viable’ trades such as masonry, carpentry and auto driving, he said while highlighting the need for distribution of combined harvesters among the farmers on a large scale with subsidised prices as a remedy for the crisis.