The plight of farmers in Andhra Pradesh is one of the issues that has been often highlighted by the AP Leader of Opposition, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in his speeches and also during the ongoing Praja Sankalpa Yatra which touched the 100-day milestone today.
In all these 99 days of padayatra, the YSRCP president has interacted with farmers of Kadapa, Anantapur, Chittoor, Nellore and Prakasam districts. He was moved by their plight turned worse by the apathy of the state government. The Telugu Desam government promised sops to farmers in 2014 as part of their poll manifesto. However, as repeatedly pointed out by YS Jagan, none of those promises were fulfilled by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu during the past four years. The most pressing issues faced by the farmers across all the districts are input subsidy, water for irrigation and minimum support price. The YSRCP chief addressed the farmers' issue as priority during the YSRCP Guntur plenary last year.
At the plenary, he announced the party's "Navaratnalu" to alleviate the suffering of the people across all sections of the society. The first among those "Navaratnalu" is "YSR Rythu Bharosa" that provides all the possible help to farmers—beginning from sowing of seeds to selling the crop. As part of the "YSR Rythu Bharosa" as many as 66 lakh small and marginal farmers holding less than 5 acres of land will be given Rs 50,000 each. Every year, Rs 12,500 will be given to the farmers in the month of May in time for the sowing season. Besides, price stabilization fund with an outlay of Rs 3,000 crores would be set up so that farmers can get the Minimum Support Price. A Calamity Relief Fund of Rs 2,000 crores will also be set up for areas perennially hit by drought and floods. A total of Rs 33,000 crores will be allocated to the farmers via this scheme. The money will be given directly to the farmers, YS Jagan told farmers.
A reflection of the plight of farmers was evident on the 99th day of the Praja Sankalpa Yatra in Timmapalem of Prakasam district. Eucalyptus oil farmers told YS Jagan that the arid region suffered due to the inadequate water supply to their crops. They said that they are wilting under the losses with no help forthcoming from the state government. With fluoride contamination compounding their problems and without minimum support price, farmers are driven to the brink of penury. During former chief minister late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s government, eucalyptus oil fetched Rs 4,200 a tonne, whereas currently, thanks to the nexus between traders and middlemen, the price fell steeply to Rs. 1,800.
The YSR Congress party chief has pledged his support to improve the lives of farmers and ensure they get their due for all the toil they put in.