TJAC to highlight farm distress in Telangana
Hyderabad: The Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) has come up with a novel form of protest, called “Vanta Varpu” (cooking and serving), to highlight agrarian distress in the state. As part of the protest, activists and farmers will cook food on the streets across different districts in Telangana early in March, and stage dharnas at village, mandal and district levels later in the month.
TJAC chairman M. Kodandaram said the protests will be held in March.
The protests by the TJAC are being organized after the conclusion of its recently held village-level surveys on farmer issues across the state to understand their problems.
The organization, which earlier this month announced that it will float its political wing, took up the study in all 119 assembly constituencies in Telangana mainly due to the pink bollworm pest attacking the cotton crop this year. The organization had chosen two villages from each constituency for the survey.
“Most of the farmers, nearly 90 % (they surveyed), have less than five acres of land and very rarely someone among them gets a bank loan. That is a very significant thing we found in our study. It is important to note that they lack institutional support,” said Kodandaram.
In its study, the results of which were released earlier this month in an organizational meeting,the TJAC found a lot of cotton farmers had suffered losses due to untimely rains in October and an attack by the pink bollworm pest, said Kodandaram. “The pesticides could prevent the pest attack. Though the crop was better in the subsequent days, many farmers suffered monetary losses and were getting less rate for their produce,” he added.
The TJAC chairman said farmers received low rates on their cotton produce for most of their stock this year and got better rates on just 20% of their yield.
When contacted, a senior official from Telangana’s agriculture department refuted that there is any agrarian distress in the current year (2017-18). He added that the pink bollworm pest’s influence was limited just to a few districts, including Adilabad and Warangal, at best. “There was not much damage, and there were a few spells of heavy rainfall, but it has not caused any major crop damage,” he said, not wanting to be identified.
However, it may be recalled that preliminary data from the department itself had shown that untimely rainfall in the first two weeks of October resulted in nearly 98,000 hectares of sown land in Telangana being affected. This year, the total cultivation area for the Kharif season was 3.9 million hectares.
The report had stated that about 113,000 farmers were also affected due to the rain, which were recorded at over 100 millimeters in several places, much higher than the yearly average.
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