KOTHAGUDEM: While the delay in Rythu Bandhu payments continues to be a problem for many farmers, this farm investment subsidy scheme has come as an opportunity for revenue employees and political leaders to make money, particular in villages under the Julurpad mandal of Kothagudem district.
What is happening in the mandal is testimony of how farmers are being exploited by wily employees and leaders, who are using the opportunity to pocket crore of rupees.
As Julurpad mandal comes under the 1970 Regulation Act pertaining to land transfers, any transfer should be legitimate with selling and buying of lands happening only between tribals. As thousands of tribal and non-tribal farmers are not having pattadar passbooks, many of the land transactions are just on paper. To get over this problem, the state government introduced the facility of sada binama, which provides rights over the land to tribals.
It is the sada binama that makes tribal farmers eligible for Rythu Bandu. Initially, officials issued pattas to only those farmers whose land records were crystal clear.
As a result, many of the farmers in Julurpad mandal did not get sada binama and pattadar passbooks, following which they were denied Rythu Bandu benefits too. Continuous elections were also a reason for delay in farmers being issued these documents. Even though land issues are being settled in villages gradually, farmers are too eager to get the sada binamas, so that they can get the benefits under the Rythu Bandu scheme.
Village-level revenue officers and political leaders saw an opportunity in this and have formed syndicates to collect money from farmers for issuing sada binamas and pattadar passbooks.
The state government’s order to revenue officials that sada binamas be issued to farmers if they had agreement papers of their lands came as an opportunity to be exploited by officials and political leaders.
As per a plan hatched by these two sections, their teams are now visiting even the houses of farmers, promising issue of sada binamas.
These teams have been witnessed going around in Papakollu, Kakarla, Karivarigudem and other villages. Each farmer is asked to pay Rs 10,000 per acre to issue sada binama and pattadar passbook. If there is an issue pending over the land, the amount collected is increased to Rs 15,000 or Rs 20,000 per acre.
Interestingly, a person, who questioned the malpractice of these syndicates, was offered grant of rights on government land to get Rythu Bandu benefits. When many farmers tried to bargain on the amount they had to pay to the syndicate, officials and leaders point out to them that under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, they would be getting much more money every year than what they pay for sada binama.
The Village Revenue Officers are even taking laptops to villages and taking digital signatures from farmers in hotels and houses of political leaders, which is illegal.
An official, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “About Rs 5 crore have already changed hands so far. The syndicates are making agreements to amass another Rs 10 crore.”...