Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Farmer in distress makes children give up Education and work as coolies

The desperate farmer of Medak district who burnt away the paddy crop in his three-acre farm because of his inability to get the crop harvested has made his children drop out from educational institutions and work as daily wage earners.

The heart-rending story of the marginal farmer Kankara Mallesam of Nawabpet village in Hutnur mandal of Medak district came to light following a visit to the village by State Lok Satta Party leaders Bandaru Rammohana Rao and G. Raja Reddy today.

Mallesam had spent Rs.60000 on raising paddy in his three-acre farm. When it was ripe for harvest, he could not access agricultural workers to reap it.

Farmers in the village import agricultural workers from the neighboring Nalgonda district and Karnataka State. AS of today, there are 300 agricultural workers drawn from outside the village with a population of 2000. Implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has witnessed the number of workers opting for agricultural work dwindling all over rural Andhra Pradesh.

The migrant laborers were not prepared to work on his farm located about three km from the village, although he offered to share 50 percent of the produce with them. Even if he wanted to, he could not hire a harvester, as it cannot negotiate the slushy track to the farm.

Neither the sarpanch of the village nor the local legislator visited the farmer in distress. The sarpanch, a Dalit, had migrated to another village to work as a mason. The local legislator and former Minister was engrossed in Ministry-making politics in Hyderabad. Agriculture Department officials, who had failed to get the crop insured, now tell the farmer they can do little since he has burnt away his crop.

The Lok Satta Party leaders accompanied by Tummanapalli Srinivas and Sudheer Reddy, who visited the farm after trekking two km and called on the farmer tried to console him. Mallesam, aged about 55, is a widower. Having married off a son and a daughter, he is taking care of the other two children – a 17-year-old boy doing Intermediate and a 13-year-old girl in her eighth class. Now he has made them give up education and work as daily coolies to help him make both ends meet.

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