Distressed ryots seek govt. intervention

Perika Bhiksham, a farmer from Nalgonda, shows the damage caused to his paddy crop by the torrential rain. (Right) A farmer at the IKP procurement centre at Arjalabavi in the district shows sprouted paddy.  

Not far from the Valigonda bridge, where at least a dozen heavy vehicles were washed away in Musi river, farmers of the abutting Mallepally and Nagaram villages who recently harvested their crops crestfallen.

With little hope, they keep busy with a wooden rake to regularly comb the flat beds of soaked paddy in their front yards.

“Profit or loss, this last stage decides,” Hithapu Laxmamma, who reaped three of the five acres harvest, says. “The two-acre crop which was ready for harvest is flat in the fields like a mat spread on the floor,” she adds.

Employing workers

Now, she has employed workers at ₹500 per person, for sun-drying the produce, after which the stock needs to be transported to the local market yard, where a queue token should be collected to sell it.

Officials would test the grain for moisture (not to exceed 17%), and finally if Laxmamma’s paddy ticks all the quality checks, she would get the minimum support price of ₹1,888 per quintal (grade A).

But grain moisture is two types – internal and external.

With a slight change in weather, or while in the ‘tractor queue’ at the yard, if moisture exceeds, the whole cycle should be repeated and the quality is lost, the 60-year-old illiterate farmer explains.

A private trader would buy the stock offering up to ₹1,400 for the same quantity, but it does not work out any profit, others say. Valigonda, one of the mandals with large excess rainfall in the State, has 977 paddy farmers in despair in 1, 911 acres. For cotton, the damage figures are 580 acres and 201 farmers.

The mandal is not exclusive, but representative of the rest of the mandals in undivided Nalgonda, which report similar losses and severe damages in about 1,12,000 acres, as per preliminary reports.

Officials state large acres of fields have disappeared in the flood, crops ready for harvest are inundated and the harvested heaps soaked.

In the much-affected mandals like Pochampally, Choutuppal, Nalgonda and Munugode, farmers say local leaders have extended words of comfort, but procurement did not take off.

Groups of agitated farmers, with sprouted paddy, continue to block highways, or the District Collector’s vehicle, praying for action.

On the other hand, tenant farmers such as M. Yadagiri of Valigonda, who do not appear in official records, wonder about their situation. Having cultivated 10 acres on rented farm, Yadagiri’s crop damage is in six acres.

“No matter what, I have to pay the share or its equivalent cash to the landlord. With two consecutive bad seasons, my present debt is more than ₹4 lakh. I don’t see a future,” he says.

Compensation sought

Sangareddy Special Correspondent adds: Urging the government to come to their rescue, several farmers staged a dharna before the Collectorate on Monday.

Farmers under the banners of Telangana Manjeera Rythu Samakhya and district unit of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) organised the dharna.

Problem of debts

“We have lost crops like paddy and cotton due to heavy rains, and there is nothing left. We do not know how to clear the debts taken for cultivation. We request the government to come to our rescue and save us,” the farmers urged the government. They were led by Manjeera Rythu Samkhya leader Pruthvi Raj.

AIKS district secretary G. Jayaraj demanded that all the crops are lost and that farmers must be paid compensation immediately.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 5:52:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/distressed-ryots-seek-govt-intervention/article32895890.ece

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