Andhra Pradesh: ruling, opposition parties trade accusations over farmers’ ‘plight’

Amid a bitter war of words with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Jana Sena Party (JSP) over the condition of farmers in the state, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, has released Rs 3,758 crore as the first tranche of YSR Rythu Bharosa Scheme this financial year, benefiting 50.10 lakh farmers. The Chief Minister said that the government is committed to the welfare of the farmers, so it is providing assistance to them even before the start of the Kharif season.

As part of the first installment, Rs 7,500 is paid to each beneficiary farmer, with the state government crediting Rs 5,500 on Monday. The remaining amount of Rs 2,000 will be disbursed by the Center under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi by the end of May. Similarly, Rs 4,000 will be credited in October at harvest time and another Rs 2,000 will be transferred to farmers’ bank accounts during the Sankranti festival in January.

Jagan Mohan Reddy lashed out at Jana Sena actor and chief politician K Pawan Kalyan who took over the ‘Rythu Paramarsha Yatra’ to meet indebted farmers or farming families who died by suicide. “Pawan Kalyan could not find a single farmer or a single family who did not receive agricultural allowances or adequate compensation in the event of death. To help farmers, you have to have a good knowledge of agriculture and the fate of farmers, of whom you have no knowledge. Why doesn’t Pawan question Chandrababu Naidu who has done nothing for the farmers? said the CM. Last week, Kalyan told Kurnool he was moved by the plight of debt-ridden farmers.

Attacking TDP leader Jagan Mohan Reddy said: “Chandrababu talks about the plight of farmers but he should say why he did not give up agricultural loans during his tenure. It has not put in place any social protection program for farmers. For the first time in the country’s history, compensation for crop damage, regardless of season, was paid in the same season… The TDP and its allies have no moral right to speak for the welfare of farmers.

Against the Chief Minister, National General Secretary of TDP and MLC N Lokesh Naidu said that while the Chief Minister greeted the state government, his ministers and the YSRCP leaders faced the heat of the people who were fed up with the administration. “I commend the people for boldly raising their voices against the YSRCP MPs and ruling ministers during the ongoing mass contact program. The government had to organize the mass contact program amid strong police security due to protests from all sections. The huge public reaction has further exposed the massive wave of anti-government in the state,” he said.

“People are openly questioning and criticizing YSRCP MPs for not addressing their issues. They demanded explanations from ministers about the lack of development in their constituencies,” he said. Lokesh issued a 17-point questionnaire on the alleged poor condition of farmers during the YSRCP’s three-year rule, and asked the CM to respond to it.

Lokesh questioned why the state government was fixing meters on farm engines, which he added would impose high electricity bills on farmers.

“The CM was not able to tell people what it had done to meet the growing irrigation needs of farmers. Has his government dug a single minor canal in the past three years? Can the CM answer this question? ” he said.

Lokesh asked for details on compensation paid to farmers to cover crop loss and damage suffered during cyclones and untimely rains. “Why didn’t the farmers get insurance when the government had paid a premium for crop insurance? At every turn, the YSRCP regime has betrayed the farmers,” he added.

In response, the Chief Minister said that so far, Rs 23,875 crore had been deposited in farmers’ accounts under the Rythu Bharosa scheme alone and Rs 1,10,093 crore had been spent under various other social protection programs for farmers. Unlike the previous government which spent only Rs 782 crore on zero interest crop loans, Jagan Mohan Reddy said his government paid Rs 1,282 crore for zero interest loans initiative.

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