ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్లో గత 50 రోజుల్లో 75 మంది రైతులు బలవన్మరణానికి పాల్పడ్డారు. మొత్తం గత ఆరునెలల కాలంలో 110 మంది అన్నదాతలు ఆత్మహత్యకు పాల్పడ్డారు. ఈ మొత్తం రైతుల్లో 80శాతం మంది కౌలుదారు లేనని రాష్ట్ర కౌలుదారుల సంఘం జమలయ్య తెలిపారు. రైతు స్వరాజ్య వేదిక చనిపోయిన రైతులకు ప్రభుత్వం ఏడు లక్షల రూపాయల పరిహారం ప్రకటించినప్పటికీ చాలా కొద్ది మందికి మాత్రమే ఇది దక్కుతున్నది. మరోపక్క ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకున్న రైతుల కుటుంబాలు పరిహారం పొందేందుకు 15 రకాల సర్టిఫికెట్లను సమర్పించాల్సి రావటం గమనార్హం.
In July alone, 56 farmers committed suicide across the state. According to data by Andhra Pradesh Tenant Farmers’ Association, two farmers are dying every day on an average. According to APTFA, more than 80% of those who committed suicide are tenant farmers and in the age group of 25 to 40 years. In Guntur district, 20 farmers committed suicide in June and July after the YSRC government came to power.
Farmers are taking the extreme step for obvious reasons, said APTFA state secretary P Jamalaiah. Tenant farmers are not getting bank loans and are forced to depend on private lenders. They are taking loans with interest ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 5 per hundred per month. As they have to spend more than 40% to pay the landowners, they are ending up in huge debts in the event of poor yield or unprecedented weather, like long dry spell or untimely rains, he said.
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Bhimavarapu Ammi Reddy, a 60-year-old farmer from Penumalli village of Duggirala mandal, explained how he ended up in debt. Reddy had leased 4.5 acres of land from the owners and cultivated rice for the last several years. He has been incurring losses for four years in a row for various reasons.
Reddy said during harvest time, a bag of rice would fetch Rs 1,350 while the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the government was Rs 1,550. “As the government is not buying the produce, we do not have any option but to sell to traders as we cannot afford to store it till the demand increases in market. Once the harvest season is over the same bag of rice is sold at Rs 2,270 by the traders” he said.
As the banks are not giving loans to tenant farmers, Reddy took some gold and private loans which have now amounted to more than Rs 5 lakh.
Similarly, B Srinivas from Guntur district said although the Tenant Farmers Act came into force in 2011, it is not being implemented in the state. Tenant farmers are not being given Loan Eligibility Cards (LEC) by revenue officials. Even if they were given LEC at some places, banks are not giving loans based on scale of finance as mandated by the Tenant Farmers Act.
Now the YSRC government has brought in new amendments to the Act, but in practice it is not viable and cannot be implemented as landowners will not enter into an agreement with tenant farmers.
Kondal Reddy from Raitu Swarajya Vedika said while farmers’ suicides is a problem, the government is yet to address it. Although the government is claiming to have increased compensation to Rs 7 lakh, it is being given to a few families only.
He noted that many of the farmers’ suicides are not being properly recorded as well. Even if an FIR is registered in some cases, many families are not able to give necessary documents as it needs 15 different certificates to get compensation, he said.
(Courtesy The Times of India)