ANDHRA PRADESH

Agency ryots threaten to stop supplies to rythu bazars

A Girijan farmer explains the problems faced by them at a meeting in Visakhapatnam on Monday. Photo: K.R. Deepak

A Girijan farmer explains the problems faced by them at a meeting in Visakhapatnam on Monday. Photo: K.R. Deepak  

VISAKHAPATNAM, DEC. 6. Girijan farmers have threatened to stop supplies to rythu bazars in protest against `harassment' by various agencies while bringing vegetables form the agency area.

This was decided on Monday by farmers, including several women, after a meeting here. They also resolved to submit a memorandum to the Joint Collector and the Assistant Director, Marketing, listing out their woes.

Over 300 farmers from 29 hamlets spread over Araku, Anantagiri, Dumbriguda, Hukumpeta and Paderu mandals of the district have been selling vegetables grown by them in the agency area at Seethammadhara and MVP Colony rythu bazars since 2001.

``Our problem begins right from our hamlets. We have to engage a van by paying Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000 per trip to pick us up along with vegetables from four or five places. The Transport Department officials, police and check-gate staff fleece us at various points slapping fines despite production of our identity cards,'' Killo Raghuram, president of Arakulova Girijan Koragaya Rythu Sangham, told reporters.

Transport problems

The RTC stopped plying a bus introduced for the convenience of farmers from Araku to the city sometime ago on `technical grounds'. Girijans reach the city in private vans on Friday and stay here till Monday unlike their counterparts in the plain areas whom the RTC buses bring in the morning and take them back to their villages late in the evening.

``Most of the time, we are stopped at various places. Sometimes the vehicle C book is seized after slapping penalty. We are also asked to get down from vans and travel by train or bus by the transport officials,'' lamented Gunavati, a vegetable-grower from Araku.

NGO's charge

P. Devullu, an activist of the Sanjeevini, a voluntary organisation which trained farmers on how to weigh and receive cash, alleged that a fine of Rs.20 to Rs.100 was being imposed on the farmers travelling in vans at Sunkarameta, Kasipatnam, Chilakalageda, Bodavaram and Kothavalasa checkgates. "Police also stop their vehicles at Pendurthy and other places and harass them on various grounds like violating `no entry timings' and use of vans as passenger vehicles,'' he stated.

He said there was no provision at present for storing the unsold vegetables at Seethammadhara and the room meant for storage was being used for some other purpos at MVP Colony rythu bazar.

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