Hyderabad: Fodder shortage has hit parts of Telangana even as the government is grappling with farmers suicides. Reports from various parts of the state indicated a shortage of 3.06 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of fodder for 118 lakh cattle, sheep and goats. Mahbubnagar, parts of Medak, Nalgonda and other districts have reported shortage of fodder. As against the demand of 113.88 lakh MT, the total fodder now available is 110.82 lakh MT.
“We have taken steps on war footing to provide fodder to all the districts and have begun distributing 800 MT. We will meet the demand,” Dr Y. Tirupathaiah, additional director, Animal Husbandry Department told DC. The department said that so far 141 farmers’ suicides had been confirmed by a three-member panel comprising of the local revenue divisional officers, deputy SP and assistant directors, agriculture, in every district between June 2, 2014 and July 28, 2015.
The kin of the dead have been paid ex-gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh each. “Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy stated that 409 farmers have committed suicide. They are based on media reports. Officially, 141 deaths are farm related till date as per the inquiry reports. Inquiry is conducted whether such cases come to their notice,” Mr Najamuddin, consultant, agriculture department, said.
After the announcement of 409 deaths, another eight farmers ended their lives taking the toll of deaths to 417, while the Congress says it is over 1,300 and Telugu Desam put the death toll at over 1,190. Both the parties demanded to declare Mahbubnagar district as drought hit at the ZP meeting which led to acrimonious scenes.
“There is an acute shortage of drinking water for both human beings and cattle in Mahabubnagar and other districts. With crops withering away due to severe drought, farmers are going to neighbouring Nalgonda and other districts to get fodder spending huge amounts. A small truck of fodder costs Rs 10,000. No farmer likes to see mute animals yearning for food,” A. Sampath, Alampur Congress MLA said.
The animal husbandry department has asked officials to assess fodder seed requirements of each mandal, village-wise to take up fodder cultivation with the available moisture and available irrigation facilities and supply fodder seed at a subsidy. Each identified beneficiary can be supplied fodder seed sufficient for 1 acre of land depending on the livestock owned. However, an Animal Husbandry official said that the situation presently is not that grave to open cattle camps.