While the scheme aims to provide financial aid to farmers in the state, farmers allege that it isn’t entirely inclusive of their needs.

Farmers in Telangana stage protest on highways against Rythu Bandhu scheme
news Protest Friday, June 01, 2018 - 15:25

Thousands of farmers staged road blockades across six districts of Telangana on Thursday, blocking the highway from Karimnagar to Khammam-Bhadrachalam to raise their voices in protest against the exclusion of 15 lakhs real cultivators, including tenant and adivasi farmers, from the state’s ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme.

“[They also] protested against the distribution of public money to absentee landlords and business people and demanded comprehensive support for farmers, including remunerative prices and debt relief," Rythu Swarajya Vedika, an NGO that works with farmers, said in a press release.

The protests which took place in Karimnagar, Warangal (Urban and Rural), Mahbubabad, Kothagudem and Khammam districts were jointly organized by various farmer organisations and supported by political parties including Professor Kodandaram's Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and Left parties.

The farmers also demanded the implementation of the 2011 Licensed Cultivators Act to grant recognition to all cultivators including tenant farmers.

At Elkaturti in Warangal (Urban) district, around 2,000 farmers held skits, songs and other programs in a demonstration which blocked the highway. Several senior leaders from Left parties including Chada Venkat Reddy of CPI and TJS chief Kodandaram also participated in these protests.

The leaders were among hundreds of those who were detained by the police and released later.

Background

The Rythu Bandhu scheme is a farmer investment scheme recently launched in Telangana wherein the government gives farmers an incentive of Rs 4,000 for each acre of land as investment for the crop.

However, this scheme is restricted only to landowning farmers.

Under the Rythu Bandhu, the government has identified 57.33 lakh landowning farmers, who can avail its benefits. For this flagship programme, the government intends to spend Rs 12,000 crore every year, with Rs 6,000 crore having already been released for it.

Activists allege that the scheme fails to take into account tenant farmers, who are the ones who actually cultivate the land, the money from the directive would go to the landowners nonetheless.

Minister's convoy stopped

Telangana Finance Minister Eetela Rajender and Mahabubabad MP Seetharam Naik’s convoy was stopped at Machapur in Geesugonda Mandal in Warangal rural district, by hundreds of protesters.

Traffic blocked the highway for about half an hour as protesters refused to budge and stalled vehicles. Police were called in to detain the activists and farmers, and to allow the senior TRS leaders to pass through.

In addition to the farmers, members from activist groups such as Telangana Rythu JAC, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Telangana Praja Front, Telangana Raitanga Samiti, Telangana Rashtra Rythu Sangham were also detained.

 

Read:

‘Telangana govt only helping the rich’: 9 farmer unions support Rythu Bandhu protests

Telangana's Rythu Bandhu scheme helping realtors instead of farmers: Kodandaram

 

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