The farmers are planning to block the highway from Khammam to Karimnagar as a mark of protest.

Telangana govt only helping the rich 9 farmer unions support Rythu Bandhu protests
news Protest Friday, May 25, 2018 - 19:04

 

At least nine farmer unions have lent their support to the protest, in which the highway from Khammam to Karimnagar in Telangana will be blocked on May 31, against the government’ Rythu Bandhu scheme not being extended to tenant and adivasi farmers.

The unions have threatened that if the government doesn’t pay heed to their demands, they will take out a massive protest akin to the Maharashtra farmers’ protest, which saw lakhs of farmers march to Mumbai.  

The Rythu Bandhu scheme is a farmer investment scheme recently launched in Telangana. According to it, the government gives Rs 4,000 as incentive for each acre of land as investment for the crop. However, this scheme is restricted only to the land owning farmers.

Under the scheme, the government has identified 57.33 lakh land-owning farmers, who can avail its benefits. For this flagship programme, the government intends to spend Rs 12,000 crore every year. Already Rs 6,000 crore has been released for it.

Besides, extending the Rythu Bandhu scheme to tenant and Adivasi farmers, the other demands in the farmers’ charter includes:

  • Give additional 50% subsidy on input cost and guaranteeing the Minimum Support Price.

  • Implement debt relief scheme in Telangana.

  • Give identity card and loans to all the tenant farmers.

  • Give pattas to all Adivasi farmers, who cleared the forest areas and cultivated them.

  • Give 3 acres of land to Dalit farmers and landless farmers.

  • Implement the Land Reforms Act 2013.

  • Provide compensation of Rs 6 lakh to the families of the farmers who committed suicide. 

Addressing the media on Friday, Vissa Kiran, from Rythu Swarajya Vedika, said that the actual farmers, that is the tenant farmers in the state, are in distress and that the government has been aiding the already rich, land-owning farmers.

Slamming the government’s “tall claims” of it being a one-of-its-kind scheme in the country, Kiran noted that the Karnataka and Maharashtra governments provide better subsidies on major crops like pulses and grains.  

“If you see the ratio of farmers who committed suicide, unable to pay their debts, it is the tenant farmers who have killed themselves, due to the lack of proper policies which could aid them. Instead of helping them, the government is helping the already developed section, who owns these lands but lease them out. The scheme is helping only the well-off people,” Kiran said.

He further demanded that the government implement a ‘debt relief’ scheme alike what is there in Kerala, which prevents farmers from committing suicide.

As per the debt relief scheme introduced in Kerala, the farmer can approach the Debt Relief Commission when she/he is unable to repay the debt. The government then, in return, will aid the farmer by repaying the loan.

Another farmer union leader, Sayanna, General Secretary of Telangana Rythanga Samithi, said, “In our country, Telangana ranks as second in farmer suicides. Just by introducing a pointless scheme, which benefits the farmers engaged in farming, the government can’t proclaim themselves as a pro-farmer government.”

 

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