Khammam: At a time when the ubiquitous bullock-cart is disappearing elsewhere in the country, here at Ammagudem village under Nelakondapalli mandal, which is still relying on this age-old transportation mode in the rural areas. Compared to the past, farmers of this village are more dependent on the bullock-cart. In fact, 50 per cent of 200-odd families in the village are still dependent on bullock-carts for their livelihood.
The village has over 100 bullock-carts and more than 300 heads of cattle. Since a sugar factory is located close to the village, the farmers relied heavily on bullock-carts to transport sugarcane and other goods to the factory since the days when tractors were not available. Whether it is the transport of organic manure or seeds, bullock-carts constituted the mainstay of rural transportation.
Speaking to The Hans India, a farmer of the village, Sitaiah, said that bullock-carts are very convenient to drive even in the agricultural fields. Moreover, they are eco-friendly and farmers do not incur any expenditure on diesel. Another farmer, Veeraiah, said the farmers of the village are mostly small and marginal.
The services of their carts are hired by the farmers from not only in their village but also in the neighbouring villages. Only difference between the bullock-carts of the present and the past is replacement of heavy wooden wheels with tyres. The beasts of burden can easily draw up to three tonnes of weight provided the tyres are inflated hard that the carts easily transport up to three tonnes of sugarcane to the neighbouring sugar factory.
According to a graduate from the village, Rajeswara Rao, he has been driving the cart to support the family. During the off-season, he said, the farmers transport hay, paddy, cotton, chilli, maize and other commodities. However, they have become a source of livelihood for the educated to the aged in the village. In the district, Ammagudem earned the distinction of having the highest number of bullock-carts.
Farmers Mallayya and Narsayya of the village expressed concern over the increased cost of hay nowadays putting a burden on the farmer in feeding the animals. The farmers appeal to the officials to pay attention to redress grievances of the village to uphold the traditions that are disappearing.