BJY in TS: Farmers, tribals, unemployed youths share their concerns with RaGa at Mahabubnagar

On Saturday, the BJY team met debt-ridden farmers who had borrowed money at 24% interest rate to lease agricultural land, sowed cotton and lost everything to the torrential rains

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  30 Oct 2022 7:23 AM GMT
BJY in TS: Farmers, tribals, unemployed youths share their concerns with RaGa at Mahabubnagar

Hyderabad: On the 52nd day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra on 29 October in Mahabubnagar, several farmers and tribal people met Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and others and discussed their problems.

On Saturday, the BJY team, starting from Dharmapur in Yenugonda met debt-ridden farmers who had borrowed money at 24% interest rate to lease agricultural land, sowed cotton and lost everything to the torrential rains. Unable to clear their old debts, and with no hope from the government on farm loan waivers, they took up jobs as farm labourers to work on farms for wages as low as ₹300 per day.

The farmers said it is their only option as they have to feed their families. With rates of seeds, pesticides and fertilisers rising, they expressed little hope of getting back to farming without clearing the existing debts.

The Congress leaders also met two women farmers who shared their woes as the interest rates went up higher this year and touched 3% per month. Both had 10 acres of land each and lost the cotton crop they sowed.

No land, no money, no reservation

The Congress leaders met some Chenchu tribals in the Mannanur area. Three people—Venkatiah, Bhooramma, and Krishnaiah—met Rahul Gandhi and explained the hardships they are facing. Some of the issues that were discussed at the meeting included reservation being lost to advanced Lambada communities, Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) clubbed with Modified Area Development Agency (MADA), and lack of funds for ITDA.

They demanded that the age for old-age pension be changed to 50 years instead of 58 years as life expectancy among the Chenchus in forest gudems is a staggering 45 years (AP is implementing this). They also talked about the need for the pension to be automatically linked to Aadhar and said community forest rights are not being given, instead, attempts are being made to distribute forest lands to non-tribals and companies. They also complained of lack of basic amenities in Chenchu gudems (gudem means a small village).

Of the employed and the unemployed

On Saturday, a delegation of Pravasi Mitra Labour Union led by its state president Swadesh Parikipandla joined the yatra. The union works on issues of migrant workers and the rehabilitation of widows.

Also, en route, the yatra met a large number of local youths who were angry that they could not find jobs owing to the unemployment crisis. They expressed their anger against the state government as well as the Union government.

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