The Hyderabad high court on Friday pulled up the Telangana government and sought to know why the benefits of the state's Rythu Bandhu scheme did not extend to tenant farmers.
The court was hearing a case by a tenant farmer, Durgam Prasanth, from Jayashankar Bhupalapalli district.
The petitioner told the court that the financial assistance scheme by the state government was only benefiting landlords and land owning farmers, while the tenant farmers tilled the land and grew the crop.
The High Court then issued notices to officials from the Agriculture and Revenue department along with the Principal Secretary and District Collector of Jayashankar Bhupalapalli district.
The case will be heard again in three weeks.
Thousands of farmers staged road blockades across six districts of Telangana earlier this month, 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 stateâ€™s â€˜Rythu Bandhuâ€™ scheme.
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.
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.