KHAMMAM: Farm labourers, who are generally busy in the month of July with farm operations, have been suddenly made jobless.
The demand for commencement of works under MNREGS has lost momentum.
The number of unemployed agricultural labourers in the present kharif season is estimated to be around 2.5 lakh. The reason is clear. The persistent dry spell that has stalled farming operations has resulted in large-scale unemployment.
If the situation continues for another 15 days, labourers will have to migrate to other areas, probably urban pockets, to look for alternative ways to earn a living. There is an urgent need for the government to start works under the employment guarantee scheme to check migration.
If the South-West monsoon was good, farmers used to bring labourers from other areas to work in their fields. But due to the failure of the monsoon, farm operations have not commenced in 70 per cent of the fields in various habitations in the district.
Officials, who were concentrating on contingency crop plans, have not evolved any plan as yet that would mitigate farm unemployment in the light of drought like conditions.
There are 2.91 lakh job cards under MNREGS in the district against 6.52 lakh farm labourers. In the month of April and May the job card holders were provided work and above 50 lakh man days were created in the summer.
P. Sankaraiah, a farm labour union leader said, “We used to get plenty of work during the kharif commencement and every one would be busy. However, the present situation in the villages is different as there is no work.
The government should continue MNREGS works and provide work to farm labourers as a special situation.”
There are 427 gram panchayats and the farm labourers are waiting for the call from farmers to work in the fields. Some of them are going to Hyderabad to work at construction sites....