Telangana

Rising prices of essentials hits labourers in old Adilabad district

A farmer weighing the cotton picked by labourers during a days work at Hasnapur in Adilabad district.

A farmer weighing the cotton picked by labourers during a days work at Hasnapur in Adilabad district.   | Photo Credit: S. Harpal Singh

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Cotton pickers find earnings barely cover cost of commodities

The cotton harvest season has been comparatively good for the farm labourers too but, that advantage is being lost owing to inflation in former composite Adilabad district.

The rising price of commodities in rural markets has put poor people to increased hardships since the last few days. “My income from picking cotton is ₹ 180 today and the price of one kg of edible oil is about ₹ 100,” lamented Kore Laxmibai, leader of a group of labourers from Hasnapur in Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district, as she tried to give an insight into the disparity between her income and expenditure. “To purchase one kg of palm oil I will have to work for nearly 5 hours picking cotton,” she added.

Picking cotton is an almost an exclusive preserve of women labourers like Laxmibai and other women in her group in the interior Agency areas who get work for 20 days a month on an average starting December. Their individual average earnings add up to ₹ 3,600 per month as they are paid ₹ 6 for every kg of cotton picked. The average pickings come to 30 kg for each of the labourers during an 8 hour stint in the field but the corresponding earnings are not sufficient.

Inquiries revealed that the price of commodities in villages is higher, as the items are sold in smaller quantities, when compared to that in district and mandal headquarters where the sale is in larger quantities. The increase in price, however, is not proportionate to the increase in transportation charges but higher.

The retail price of palm oil is ₹ 80 per kg and that of refined groundnut oil is ₹ 120 per kg in the bigger markets. Lentils or dals like the pigeon pea or toor dal is priced between ₹ 85 and ₹ 90 a kg.

According to a grocer in Indervelli, the prices have seen an upswing during the last 10 days. For example, palm oil was priced at ₹ 60 to ₹ 70 a kg in December, he said.

“The government should protect us from inflation or enhance our wages as they do in the case of farmers,” demanded Shivange Sangeetha. She was apparently hinting towards the schemes like Rythu Bandhu through which farmers are given investment support to the tune of ₹ 5,000 per acre in kharif as well as rabi seasons.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 12:14:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/rising-prices-of-essentials-hits-labourers-in-old-adilabad-district/article30544658.ece

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