Dasha Disha on farm sector : Need to reverse deprivation

Dasha Disha on farm sector : Need to reverse deprivation
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Dasha Disha on farm sector Hyderabad: The plight of the peasant community and suicides of farmers were...

Dasha Disha on farm sector Hyderabad: The plight of the peasant community and suicides of farmers were largely attributed to factors such as crippled finances of families with small land holdings, lopsided policies of the Government, natural calamities, persisting drought conditions and injustice meted out in allocation of water resources at the "Dasha Disha" on Agricultre organised by the Rythu Rakshana Vedika, a joint initiative of HMTV and The Hans India, at Anantapur on Sunday. Dasha Disha
The speakers at the meet stressed the need for initiating special measures to reverse the process of deprivation that had reduced the status of farmer to that of a mere wage earner. Legislators and leaders from political parties and peasant bodies observed that the farmers were driven into distress as they were not in a position to cope with the ever increasing crop investments. Agriculture has been rendered non-remunerative, they felt.
Farmers' suicides leave families distressed
  • Govt pays no heed to their pleas for compensation
  • It is worse in the case of farm labourers, tenant farmers
  • Rythu Rakshana Vedika vows to take their plight to notice of govt, political parties
Dasha Anantapur: Members of Rythu Rakshana Vedika, an initiative of the HMTV and The Hans India to provide succour to the crisis-ridden agriculture sector on Sunday went round several villages in Anantapur district and consoled the families of farmers who committed suicide. Vedika Convener K Ramachandramurthy led the team comprising representatives of farmers' associations and experts in the field.
Anganwadi job promised
The team visited Kuragunta, Krishnamreddipally and Cheyyedu villages and interacted with the bereaved families. In Kuragunta, while consoling Alivelu, the widow of Chelimi Venkataramudu, the members assured full cooperation in enabling her son Kalyan, studying Class X, to complete education. They also promised to secure an Anganwadi job for her daughter Sravani, who has passed SSC. Vedika Members Bhanuja, Sajaya, Asha and Pasya Padma counselled Alivelu, persuading her to draw courage and pull through difficulties. Alivelu had contemplated suicide and even twice attempted. She assured them there would be no more such attempts. The Vedika also promised to help her secure compensation from the government.
Deceased ryot's daughter attempted suicide
In the same village, they spoke to the family members of Hanumanth Reddy who died in 2004, unable to make both ends meet. He had a debt burden of Rs 4.5 lakh. His younger daughter Nagamani was forced to discontinue studies and take up tailoring to support the family. Two years later, she jumped in a well as she did not want to become a burden for the family get her married. Farmers in the village said that they were shaken up by the two suicides. The Vedika members counselled them against taking any extreme step and exhorted them to join hands with them to fight for justice.
Farmer's penury drove wife to kill self
At Sajjalakalva, they visited Peddakka's house and learnt from her husband Ramakrishna what drove her to commit suicide on February 21, 2004. He incurred debts, despite owning 22 acres, following crop losses and drought. Unable to pay even the interest, he worked for two years at a factory. Unable to face the harassment by the private money-lenders, Peddakka ended her life. Ramakrishna is at present raising chilli crop in five acres as a tenant farmer, instead of regular groundnut.
Officials agree to help
Rythu Sadasu Later, the Vedika members moved to the house of Mangala Venkatappa who ended his life on November 7, 2006. His family is still in distress as the government has not considered their pleas to pay compensation. He was a farm labourer and could not be covered by the guidelines the government set for compensation. His widow Lakshmidevi has for the last two years been working as an MNREGS labourer to support her two daughters. The girls were denied benefits of Balika Samrakshana Scheme bonds as the Revenue staff had their mother's name as 'Lalithamma'. Officials took back the bonds. Despite their best efforts, the family could not get the name changed. After the then Revenue Inspector Kanaka Raju allegedly demanded Rs 5,000 as bribe, Lakshmidevi sold her jewellery to pay it, but he did not oblige. Raju was suspended after she lodged a police complaint. Vedika member Bhanuja raised the issue with ICDS officials and elicited an assurance that the work would be completed by Tuesday. They also assured to take care of the two girls' welfare.
Parents' suicide leaves child destitute
At Krishnamareddipally village, the Vedika members interacted with the family of Sudhakar and Gangadevi, who had immolated themselves along with their little child Hemalatha, in 2000. They were unable to pay interest on heavy debts. Hemalatha survived with burns. She later studied up to SSC, and is not in a position to study Intermediate. The Vedika members assured her assistance to continue studies. Bhanuja noted the legal problem of entry in ICDS records of her name as Navya instead of Hemalatha. She said the problem would be addressed and an assistance of Rs 20,000 to the family under the Apatbandhu scheme would be secured. The Vedika members consoled the family of Boyi Narasimhulu at Cheyyedu. His widow Lakshmi and son Jayaramudu had moved to Anantapur to take up farming. They were emotionally surcharged to see their dilapidated house and dry land. Narsimhulu's suicide had become sensational, as it was the first such death in Rayalaseema.
Govt policies blamed
Later Bhanuja, Sajaya and others held a meeting with the people of Cheyyedu. Sajaya blamed policies, officials' indifference, parties' lack of commitment and apathy of people's representatives for the suicides. She said no party was supporting ryots, who were dispirited. But, suicide was no answer to their woes, she added. The Vedika intends to show a path to various parties to realise the need for preparing pro-farmer manifestoes. Of the 32,000 farmers' suicides in the State, 3,200 occurred in Anantapur district. He advised distressed farmers to contact the Vedika for solving any help. Bhanuja said farmers' problems were mounting on account of drought. She recalled that several NGOs under the 'Nivarana Committee' had set up a call centre and averted several suicides. It had also created awareness among farmers how to overcome rainfall shortage, citing examples in Amarapuram and Nandyal. She pointed out that many suicide victims had spent heavily on digging borewells, which failed due to lack of rains and non-implementation of WALTA law. Y Malla Reddy, Sudheer Reddy, Anantaramudu, Tarimela Sharath Chandra Reddy, Neelam Nallapa Reddy, Rythu Sangham leaders Peddi Reddy and Qasim Peera were among the Vedika members who visited the distressed families.
Call for sustainable steps to help farmers
Anantapur: Speaking at the Vedika, former MP D Pullaiah said that the successive governments had made promises of providing irrigation by drawing waters from Tungabhadra, Penna, Chitravathi and Handri- Niva projects to the Anantapur district to overcome the irrigation water crisis. Out of 40 tmc water allocated to the district, the realization was not more than 20 tmc of water. Demanding the Centre to provide adequate relief to the district, he said proper utilization of natural resources and establishment of industries will resolve the farming crisis to some extent. Former TDP MP K Srinivasulu opined a permanent solution to farm sector crisis lies in providing sufficient water to the district. Sustainable measures will only address the farmers' problems, he said, demanding the government to declare drought in the district a 'national calamity' and allocate special budget for it. MLC Geyanand said the main reasons for the increasing distress among farmers were due to low-yielding ground nut crop and high input costs that were leading farmers to commit suicides. He demanded the government to provide ' statutory protection to all farmers so that they will get relief from debt burden. YSR Congress party MLA Gurunath Reddy favoured cultivation under drip irrigation and steps to encourage horticulture in the dry land areas. Increasing ground water levels will also help to address water crisis , he said and observed that the drought relief announced by the government was not reaching the affected farmers, Reddy alleged that the governments were not sincere to protect the farming community who lost their crops due to drought. Bhanuja, who represented 'Reds' an NGO said the farmers issues should be taken up as a political issue. Involvement of all political parties will definitely help to solve the farmers' problems. YSR Congress MLA K Ramachandra Reddy said encouraging farmers in sustainable agriculture will provide some relief to them. The Governement should prepare plans to suit the weather conditions and farmers' capacity to irrigate their lands. CPI state Committee member K Ramakrishna, former Anantpur Zilla Parishad Chairman Kavitha and Director of Action Freterna Malla Reddy and others were also present. Earlier, members of Rythu Rakshana Vedika went round several villages in Anantapur district and consoled the families of farmers who had committed suicide. Vedika Convener K Ramachandra Murthy led the team comprising representatives of farmers' associations and experts in the field.
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