Hyderabad: Telangana Bharatiya Janata Party president Bandi Sanjay Kumar on Tuesday demanded that the state government conduct an all-party meeting to discuss the problems being faced by tenant farmers, who are deprived of any benefit from any welfare scheme being extended to the agriculture sector.
In an open letter to chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the state BJP president suggested that representatives of various farmers’ organisations and intellectuals also be invited to the all-party meeting to discuss the tenant farmers’ issue.
Sanjay Kumar pointed out that there were around 14 lakh tenant farmers in the state, who were depending on cultivation on the lands taken on lease from other farmers. “Since there was no recognition from the government as farmers, they had become ineligible to get the benefits of any welfare scheme being extended to other farmers,” he said.
“Though tenant farmers are also depending on agriculture like any other farmers, schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, Yantra Lakshmi etc are not applicable to them. They don’t get the subsidy on seeds and fertilisers and are not eligible to get crop loans from banks,” he said.
The BJP president said it was unfortunate that the tenant farmers who toil day and night were not able to get the benefits of the welfare schemes, while those big farmers who had never done cultivation in their life were getting the financial assistance under Rythu Bandhu, apart from the lease amount from the tenant farmers.
Sanjay Kumar reminded that the 11th Five Year Plan had clearly suggested that the states should make appropriate amendments in the Tenancy Act without taking away the rights of the landowners. “The amendment to the Tenancy Act is meant for ensuring security to the tenant farmers and protection of interests of the landowner,” he said.
However, the state government has not been providing any rights to the tenant farmers and was even refusing to recognise them as farmers. “This is highly deplorable,” he added.
The BJP president said the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had suggested that tenant farmers could be given crop loans at 0.25 per cent loan.
“The Andhra Pradesh government has also been extending all the benefits of the welfare schemes to tenant farmers, on the lines of normal farmers. But the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been discriminating against small and marginal farmers who are depending on tenancy cultivation. This is unpardonable,” he said.
Stating that the real farmer is the one who tills the land and does the cultivation, Sanjay Kumar said it was the responsibility of the government to provide all benefits including crop bonuses and subsidised seeds and fertilisers.
“If necessary, the government should enact new legislation or appropriately amend the existing laws, so as to come to the rescue of tenant farmers,” he demanded.