Andhra Pradesh

Farmers engaged in dryland horticulture await financial aid

“With the financial year coming to an end, we are worried if our bills would be sanctioned,” says C. Narasimhulu, a farmer in Patha Bathalapalli in Anantapur district.   | Photo Credit: R.V.S. PRASAD

Many farmers in Anantapur district, engaged in dryland horticulture, are still waiting for the financial aid sanctioned by the Central government under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

At least ₹87.47 crore was sanctioned for planting and cultivating the crops under the scheme, but many of the 13,700 beneficiaries are yet to receive it even after two years.

While 23,320 acres were covered under this scheme in the 2019-20 financial year benefiting 8,100 farmers, 16,061 acres were covered benefiting 5,607 beneficiaries in the year 2020-21. The farmers planted mango, sweet lime, cheeku, pomegranate, among others.

The Hindu visited Patha Bathalapalli, a village in Nallamada mandal, where the farmers had planted mango saplings in December 2019 and had been nurturing them by buying water from tankers as groundwater was not available.

“We got some respite during the monsoon, and some people were lucky as their borewells turned functional after the groundwater levels improved this year,” says Pulivendula Chittamma, one of the beneficiaries. She and her husband had planted mango saplings in two acres, procuring them at ₹150 per sapling. They planted 150 saplings in two acres.

Similar is the case with Gangulamma and C. Narasimhulu in the village, who have sown mango saplings in two acres and three acres respectively and had received some money for pitting operations, but were waiting for the larger chunk of the amount due to them. “With the financial year coming to an end, we are worried if our bills would be sanctioned,” explains Narasimhulu.

They did not go for the regular NREGS work as all mandays get commuted under this scheme for raising the mango plants for three years.

Nallamada mandal has 12 Gram Panchayats and 197 farmers had registered under the scheme for 2020-21 covering 197 acres, said Field Assistant M. Ganesh. Patha Bathalapalli alone has 42 farmers cultivating horticulture crops under the scheme in 111.94 acres and for the three-year period, they would be paid ₹31 lakh for the cost of saplings, pitting, adding fertilizer, transportation, and technical assistance on raising the crops.

Mr. Ganesh said beneficiaries would get their money as it has been sanctioned and partially paid. But for reasons unknown, there was a delay in payment.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:05:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/farmers-engaged-in-dryland-horticulture-await-financial-aid/article34362190.ece

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