Welfare eludes Prakasam’s poor

Our names are missing from the list of beneficiaries for no fault of ours, rue many

Updated - July 01, 2022 11:29 am IST

Published - July 01, 2022 11:28 am IST - ONGOLE

Ramana Rao (50) of Thuravagunta village, who tills two acres of ‘Inam’ land that he inherited from his father, is wondering why his name does not figure on the list of beneficiaries under the YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme.

‘’I have been running from pillar to post and filing petition after petition from the village to the district headquarters-level to get my name included, but in vain,” he complains while waiting for his turn to air his grievance at a Spandana meeting — the one-stop grievance addressal forum.

Ramana Rao’s plight is not any different from the thousands of others who are cultivating different types of Poramboke land in Prakasam district. They too are finding the going tough without the much-needed title deeds as well as tenant farmers who plough the land without any lease agreement.

‘‘We have not been given the title deed for no fault of ours,” say a group of farmers in front of Prakasam Bhavan where they have come to plead their cases with the district administration after missing out on financial assistance of ₹13,500 per annum provided before the start of the cropping season in the last three years.

According to an estimate, over 75,000 farmers in the district are yet to be covered under the scheme designed to give a helping hand to the growers with much-needed capital in different spells starting from the Kharif cropping season.

“A typographical error had resulted in a mismatch of my name in the Aadhaar card and ration card issued before. Despite several visits to the village secretariat, the mistake had not been corrected yet,” laments another farmer named Srinivasa Rao from Ulichi village. Splitting of ration cards to benefit nuclear families had not been completed in many cases too because of red tape, a village volunteer says on condition of anonymity.

Apart from farmers, other sections of people including fishermen too are keeping their fingers crossed with the benefits promised under Navaratnalu schemes remaining elusive. Fifteen days into the annual fishing holiday, they are still unsure when the promised sum of ₹10,000 under the Matsyakara Bharosa will be credited into their bank accounts, laments Naidu Prabhu Prakasam, a former sarpanch of Kothapatnam Pallepalam.

The names of over 5,000 fishermen figure in a list shortlisted by the Fisheries Department in Prakasam district for providing various benefits under Matsyakara Bharosa scheme including subsidised diesel and dwelling unit, as against more than 8,000 fishermen beneficiaries during last year.

The truncated list prepared by the department is only a tentative one as a thorough screening will be done to remove the names of those getting pension and others who been benefited by other schemes like ‘Vahana Mitra’ sanctioned to fishermen, explains Fisheries Joint Director A. Chandrasekhara Reddy. The list will be published after the first week of May at the village secretariats after approval from the District Collector calling for objections from fellow fishermen and taking petitions afresh for inclusion of any left out fishermen, he adds.

The tribals inhabiting the over 60 tribal hamlets in the thick Nallamalla forests share a similar plight. Many of the tribal hamlets are rarely visited by government staff in view of inhospitable terrain. Some of the tribal hamlets are sparsely populated. As a result, many of the Chenchus, especially minor children, are without the all-important Aadhaar card which is needed for getting benefits provided under welfare schemes by the Union and State governments.

Taking note of the severity of the problem, the Integrated Tribal Development Agency has engaged a non-governmental organisation called ‘Last Milestone’ to conduct a door-to-door survey in May and ensure that the all-important Aadhaar card is given to all on a saturation basis so that they can avail of all government subsidies, according to sources.

According to a survey conducted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), over 20% of the 7.50 lakh poor people in the district could not avail the benefits of the welfare schemes for various reasons including non-linking of Aadhaar card. The State government should conduct a special Lok Adalat at the grassroots level and make village volunteers responsible for ensuring the benefits of all welfare schemes reach the beneficiaries, feels CPI(M) district assistant secretary G.V. Konda Reddy.

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