Kakinada: Nearly 80,000 farmers in two Godavari districts are in distress, as they have not been paid for the paddy supplied to the government for the past two to three months. According to one estimate, the state government has to pay paddy farmers in two Godavari districts more than Rs 2,000 crore.
The state government stopped procuring rabi paddy through purchase centres as the kharif season has already begun. Farmers are facing difficulties as they don’t have cash in hand to go in for transplantation of paddy for the kharif and to pay the farm labour. They had borrowed money for the rabi season and they are not able to pay back the debts. Agricultural operations are in a crisis and they are appealing to the state government to release necessary funds immediately and enable them to carry out farm operations.
According to sources, the government has purchased 25.82 lakh metric tonnes of paddy including 11.91 lakhs in East Godavari and 13.01 lakh metric tonnes in West Godavari districts. In East Godavari district, the paddy purchasing centres procured paddy worth Rs 2,178.31 crore out of which Rs760 crores were paid to the farmers. Sources said the remaining Rs 1409.08 crore had to be paid. According to the officials, in East Godavari, farmers cultivated Bondalu’ variety of paddy with a quantity of nearly 70,000 metric tonnes and it was given to the Food Corporation of India (FCI). It is said that the FCI has to pay its share of purchase to the government.
Sources said in West Godavari, the government purchased 13.91 lakh metric tonnes of paddy worth Rs 2,591 crore from nearly 69,867 farmers, out of which Rs 1,459 crores is still due. Various political parties, Rythu Sanghams and other associations are agitating, demanding that the government release the dues as early as possible.
“We are in great distress. The government has to pay me nearly Rs 5.35 lakh for paddy. I have to pay the amount for rabi to the landowner and farm labour. Now, the agricultural works have started and I have to go for a new agreement and pay to the farm labourers for the kharif,” said B. Lakshmana Rao of Venkatapuram in Eluru of West Godavari district. The tenant farmer said that unless the government paid the dues, he could not pay the amount to farm labourers. He also said banks and other financial agencies were collecting interests for their loans.
Another farmer, Jillellamudi M.V.V. Prasad said the government had to pay nearly Rs 6 lakh to him. However, a farmer Perinaidu of Kovvali village is happy as he received his dues from the government on Tuesday after 70 days. Anaparthi former MLA N. Ramakrishna Reddy who is staging protests against the issue said after May 27, the government did not pay the amounts to farmers....