East Godavari District: Today’s Padayatra revealed the extent of suffering people are put to when a leader goes back on his promises. Chandrababu’s commitment to farmers on loan waivers affected all classes of farmers, including tenant farmers.
Veera Vishnu Chakram, Gunny Raju, Yesu Babu and other tenant farmers from Peddapuram constituency met me today. They are denied bank loans and after borrowing money at heavy interest from private lenders, at the end of the season their produce does not fetch them a reasonable price. Caught in the hands of middlemen, they are suffering is beyond description. After toiling tirelessly, their produce does not even fetch them their investment.They can either pay the rent or repay the loans they had borrowed at heavy interest. They expressed their anguish to me saying that they had no alternative but to give up agriculture altogether.
The stories of Narsa Rao, Veera Raju, Venkateswara Rao and other farmers was no different. Though they were land owners, their situation was indeed equally pathetic. All of them felt cheated by Chandrababu Naidu’s promise on loan waivers to farmers. Before the elections, they were told that they need not repay their bank loans. Today, not only their loans, but the interest amount remains unpaid! Banks remain inaccessible to them. Tenant farmers do not want to come forward to take up agriculture, even at low rents, in view of the losses they have to suffer at the end of the day. If this dangerous situation continues, agriculture would no longer be viable proposition and we would see increasing desertification of land. These are dangerous alarm bells we must pay heed to.
East Godavari is a district with the highest number of tenant farmers in the state and tenant farmers constitute the highest percentage among agriculturists. Most of them are drawn from the poorest, backward segments of society. It is of critical importance that their problems are addressed at the earliest, with conviction and steadfastness of purpose. The farmer needs to be extricated from this state of turmoil in which he finds himself today.