Thursday, May 13, 2010

Convene all-party meeting on tenants’ Problems: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today charged the State Government with failure in going to the assistance of tenant farmers in the provision of credit and agricultural inputs at subsidized prices.

Commenting on the State-level Bankers’ Committee’s decision to extend higher credit to farmers during the current financial year, party leaders Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mr.V.Lakshman Balaji and Mr.V.Vijayender Reddy said that the Government seemed to have forgotten the existence of nearly 30 lakh tenant farmers in the State.

The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that land holders give their land on lease to tenants without entering into any written agreement for fear of losing land. Since tenant farmers cannot produce either title deeds or lease deeds, they cannot avail of bank loans and subsidies from the State Government. They have to forgo benefits under the ‘pavala vaddi’ and crop insurance schemes also. As a result, they borrow money from private moneylenders at exorbitant rates of interest. If the crop fails for any reason like floods or drought or pests and diseases, the tenant farmer falls into a debt trap and ends life as a last resort in some cases. No wonder, Andhra Pradesh has become notorious for farmers’ suicides.

The Lok Satta leaders wanted the Government to convene an all-party meeting to hammer out a permanent solution to the tenant farmers’ problems.

The party leaders pointed out that by treating gold loans as agricultural loans, the bankers claimed to have exceeded the loan targets for farmers in the financial year 2009-10.

On the State Government proposal to provide land on lease to self-help groups, the Lok Satta leaders said that the Government seemed to be encouraging cooperative farming through the backdoor. Since cooperative farming had not been a success anywhere in the world, the proposed Government scheme would be a financial disaster.

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