Khammam: Supply of drones as self-employment units under Dalit Bandhu scheme to SC beneficiaries appears to be heading into rough weather in Khammam district, in particular Chintakani mandal.
In a welcome move, 21 beneficiaries of Dalit Bandhu received drones from the district administration through suppliers Fopple and ARGO, among others. The beneficiaries, after receiving training, are using these drones for spraying pesticides and nano urea over crops being raised by farmers.
Drones made both beneficiaries and farmers happy, beneficiaries because they got income and farmers, as they could get pesticides and urea sprayed over their fields at a much lower cost than when using manual labour.
An agricultural drone comes in three parts. The drone with drum, generator and five sets of batteries. The companies are charging Rs. 6.80 lakh for a 10-litre agricultural drone system. It is alleged that there is delay in payment by government to drone-supplying companies. This has led to companies withholding fully or partly certain parts of the drone.
A drone can fly for about 20 minutes with its fully charged batteries. The batteries have to be thereafter charged by the beneficiary who has received the drone and is flying it over fields.
A beneficiary from Kodumuru, Peruru Punna Rao, said: “I got the system on August 2. The company did not give the generator to me. On September 6, I received a message on my cellphone about the payment to be made to the company for receiving the generator. I am expecting the generator from the company now. My work will be speeded up once I get the generator,” Punna Rao stated.
Farmers of Khammam district have also welcomed the drone technology. One of them, M. Nageswara Rao of Chintagurthi in Raghunadhapalem mandal, used the drone of Punna Rao for spraying herbicide over his eight-acre paddy field.
“I got my field sprayed 20 days ago. I paid Rs. 500 per acre and saved a lot of time, particularly when availability of labour is scarce. I believe I must soon use the drone for spraying again.
Despite the problems they are facing, beneficiaries of drones are happy over being selected. They are confident of getting work during both Kharif and Rabi seasons. Another beneficiary K. Anjaneyulu said, “I have sprayed pesticide on 25 acres so far. The company is yet to deliver two batteries to me though.”
When contacted, SC Corporation executive director E. Srinivasa Rao said, “We are paying money to companies immediately after sanctioning the drone systems.”...