Farmers, who opted out of paddy cultivation following Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao's statements against sowing paddy in the rabi season, feel betrayed by the state government's decision to purchase paddy at a MSP. (DC representational Photo)
Hyderabad: Farmers, who opted out of paddy cultivation following Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s statements against sowing paddy in the rabi season, feel betrayed by the state government’s decision to purchase paddy at a minimum support price (MSP). They demanded the compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre from the government for losses that they incurred by not sowing paddy during the rabi season.
After the Chief Minister’s appeal, the paddy cultivation in the rabi dropped to 35 lakh acres from 52 lakh acres in 2021 in the state — a decline of 17 lakh areas. As the Chief Minister cautioned the farmers that the state will not procure paddy cultivated in the rabi, a majority of the farmers opted for a ‘crop holiday’ as their lands were not suitable for crops other than paddy.
The farmers say that the government’s decision to procure paddy at an MSP would benefit those, who went ahead with paddy cultivation in spite of the state government’s ‘no paddy policy’, and those who followed the state government’s instructions would suffer huge losses.
In the undivided Khamm-am district alone, around 5,500 farmers did not cultivate any crop in the 24,500 acres during the rabi season as their lands were not suitable for any other crop.
Kongara Muralikrishna, a farmer of Mallavaram village under Madhira mandal, said, "I did not raise the paddy or other crops in my six acres after the officials asked me to go for alternative crops. My soil is suitable only for paddy, not other crops. So I kept my land vacant. I produced 140 quintals of paddy in the previous Yasangi season and earned Rs 1 lakh after deducting all costs including wages. I lost this money because of the government’s decision. Now the government has started lifting the Yasangi paddy from the farmers. So who will make good my losses?"
Many of the farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers, did not raise paddy or other crops in Yasangi. Such situations were witnessed more in Kusumanchi, Nelakonda-palli, Konigerla, Kallur, Vemsoor, Sattupalli, Mad-hira, Bonakal, Chintakani and Errupalem mandals.
Mandadapu Sudhakar, a farmer leader, said that changing crops is not possible in some soils, particularly paddy fields. He said that the government should consider the pain of such farmers and give relief to them by paying some amount as compensation.
B. Karunakara Reddy of Adasarlapadu in Vemsoor mandal concurs. He did not raise any crop in his eight acres. Enugu Venkateswarlu, a farmer from Rapalle in Bonakal mandal, said that he kept his three acres. "My field is suitable only for paddy, not other crops. I have to do soil treatment to go for other crops and it is an expensive affair," he said.
Several lakh acres of land turned barren in both of the erstwhile undivided Karimnagar and Warangal districts. Facing huge losses, some farmers even migrated to other places in search of livelihood leaving their native villages.
Jinkala Veeraiah, a resident of Ganneruvaram mandal of Karimnagar district, said he had four acres of land, but following the orders of Chandrashekar Rao, he stopped cultivating paddy and left his fields and migrated to Hyderabad with his family in search of livelihood.
He said if he had cultivated paddy on his four acres of land, he would have earned more than Rs 80,000 and would have lived with his relatives in his own village.
"Unable to cultivate other crops, I, not only faced loss but also was forced to leave the village," he said and demanded the state government pay compensation for his loss.