Updated: December 4, 2018 6:43:31 pm
Several farmers’ organizations held a meeting today in Hyderabad and resolved to ask tenant farmers to vote against parties that exclude them from government schemes and benefits. Over 20 lakh tenant farmers in Telangana are excluded from schemes like Rythu Bandhu and free life insurance.
A joint statement by the Telangana Rythu JAC, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Telangana Rythu Sangham, Telangana Raitanga Samiti, and Rythu Swarajya Vedika took on the ruling TSR government, accusing Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao of failing to fulfil the promises made in 2014.
“Promises to farmers like giving three acres land to Dalits, loan waiver, crop insurance, minimum support price, have not been implemented. It is hard to trust promises being made in this election on similar lines. We demand that all political parties who are in the race must try to work to implement the promises made to support farmers, Adivasis and tribal villages for the betterment of their livelihoods and living conditions,’’ the statement read.
The farm bodies demanded that the tenant farmers in the state must be recognized by providing relevant ID cards and other provisions and be included in Rythu Bandhu, crop insurance, bank loans and government schemes similar to land-owners and regular farmers.
“Many farmer organisations have been fighting for this for a while and also tried to bring this to TRS government’s attention on many occasions since 2014 elections. We have conducted campaigns, movements, filed relevant cases in courts, but still, CM K Chandrashekar Rao was very much against these demands meant for tenant farmers and made very insensitive and negative comments regarding tenant farmers. Even in his speech in the assembly, he spoke very harshly about the demands to benefit tenant farmers,’’ the statement said.
The Licensed Cultivators Act (2011) requires the government to recognise each tenant farmer and issue them Loan Eligibility Card (LEC) that ensures they receive bank loans and benefit from government schemes. It has been in force in Telangana. The farmers’ organisation have alleged that the TRS government ignored its implementation in the past 4 years and did not provide even 10,000 LEC cards.
“We strongly condemn these actions from the TRS government. Even in the context of the elections, neither TRS party nor CM KCR has spoken a single word in support of tenant farmers. Their manifesto also includes nothing related to tenant farmers. Is this not an insult to almost 15 lakhs of our tenant farmers in the state? With this kind of discrimination, how can any tenant farmer vote for the party?” asked Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika.
The TRS government is also accused of denying rights to tenant farmers by making changes to land passbooks by eliminating the ‘cultivator’ column. “There is no word neither on 3 acre land to Dalit families nor the minimum 100 days of employment per year scheme,” said Dr. Prasad Rao, vice president of Telangana Rythu Sangham.
The Congress, TJS and Bahujan Left Front manifestos have promised to recognise tenant farmers and including them in Rythu Bandhu scheme, implementing the 2006 Forest Rights Act for adivasis and the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, doing a comprehensive survey settlement of lands to ensure authentic land records.
“However, even if one of these parties comes to power, the farmers would still have to build pressure and continue the struggle in order to get their rights. But at least they have made the clear promise hence they can be held accountable,” said Kirankumar Vissa.
“Considering all these factors, the farmers’ organizations are giving a call to all tenant farmers to use their vote as a weapon to fight for their rights. They should vote only for those parties which promise to provide them recognition and rights. They should not vote for the parties which are trying to wipe out the rights of our tenant farmers. Let us question these political leaders who are visiting our villages to seek our vote on whey they are ignoring lakhs of tenant farmers and landless farmers, and only benefiting landlords owning large extent of land. We must remind them that unless they give us assurance of our rights, we will not vote for them at any cost,” said Ravi Kanneganti, convenor of Telangana Rythu JAC.
“Though 4200 farmer suicides have happened in Telangana in the past 4 years, only 1200 have received compensation from the government. It is sad that the TRS manifesto doesn’t mention farmer suicides at all, and doesn’t promise any support to these families,” said B Kondal of Rythu Swarajya Vedika.
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