Under Chandrababu, Farmers And Needy Languish In Neglect 

AP Leader of Opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy - Sakshi Post

Kattamaru Cross, East Godavari District: Today’s Padayatra revealed the extent of suffering people are put to when a leader goes back on his promises. Chandrababu's commitment to farmers on loan waivers affected all classes of farmers, including tenant farmers.

Veera Vishnu Chakram, Gunny Raju, Yesu Babu and other tenant farmers from Peddapuram constituency met me today. They are denied bank loans and after borrowing money at heavy interest from private lenders, at the end of the season their produce does not fetch them a reasonable price. Caught in the hands of middlemen, they are suffering is beyond description. After toiling tirelessly, their produce does not even fetch them their investment.They can either pay the rent or repay the loans they had borrowed at heavy interest. They expressed their anguish to me saying that they had no alternative but to give up agriculture altogether.

The stories of Narsa Rao, Veera Raju, Venkateswara Rao and other farmers was no different. Though they were land owners, their situation was indeed equally pathetic. All of them felt cheated by Chandrababu Naidu's promise on loan waivers to farmers. Before the elections, they were told that they need not repay their bank loans. Today, not only their loans, but the interest amount remains unpaid! Banks remain inaccessible to them. Tenant farmers do not want to come forward to take up agriculture, even at low rents, in view of the losses they have to suffer at the end of the day. If this dangerous situation continues, agriculture would no longer be viable proposition and we would see increasing desertification of land. These are dangerous alarm bells we must pay heed to.

East Godavari is a district with the highest number of tenant farmers in the state and tenant farmers constitute the highest percentage among agriculturists. Most of them are drawn from the poorest, backward segments of society. It is of critical importance that their problems are addressed at the earliest, with conviction and steadfastness of purpose. The farmer needs to be extricated from this state of turmoil in which he finds himself today.

I could once again understand the tragedy which can strike families when a major illness takes root, wreaking all-round havoc, from the experience of such families which met me today. Neeraj, a tenth standard student, is suffering from blood cancer. Worse, he came to know of this a week before his exams were set to commence. Battling all odds, this brave lad from a BC community, appeared for his exams and secured a grade of 9.5. His father works as a helper lifting loads, who had pinned his hopes on his young son. Regardless of the expenses involved, he spent lakhs of rupees for Neeraj’s treatment.

Hospitals claim that coverage under Arogyasri is not possible anymore, even while chemotherapy is being continued. Another daily wage labourer, Prakash, is facing unbearable agony of a similar nature. His wife, Lakshmi, is suffering from blood cancer. Doctors are denying them the benefit of Arogyasri even while treatment is on. He has already spent a fortune on blood transfusions. My resolve to widen the scope of Arogyasri and extend its scope got strengthened even more today.

Read: Chandrababu And His Anti-Dalit Party Should Go

I have a question for the chief minister—during the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy‘s tenure, 71.12 lakh hectares of land were brought under agriculture. This came down to 63.05 lakh hectares soon after you assumed office. Is it not true that land under agriculture shrank further last year to 59.03 lakh hectares?

Against this backdrop, who are you trying to fool when you claim that double digit growth rate has been achieved by the state? Isn’t it true that the farmer is in a state of unprecedented crisis? My father would always say that the net income should be treated as the agricultural growth rate. Can you see double-digit growth rate in any single farmer family in the state of Andhra Pradesh?

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