Rythu Bandhu only for farmlands from now?

Rythu Bandhu only for farmlands from now?
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Govt likely to delink non-farmlands from scheme ambit

Hyderabad: The Telangana government is likely to stop distribution of Rythu Bandhu benefits to non-farmlands from this kharif season. The farmers have been availing this benefit of Rs 5,000 per acre for the past five years. The Agriculture department has identified several lakhs of acres of farmlands being used for commercial activities and these lands would now be delinked from the Rythu Bandhu ambit.

The department has forwarded the proposal to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao for his final approval. It is estimated that this will help the government save nearly Rs 500 crore, an official said. He said the scheme envisages benefitting only those who practise farming every season. Using the land for other purposes, he said, defeats the very purpose of the scheme.

Most of the farmers situated in the districts surrounding GHMC limits and the fast-growing urban areas in the districts have stopped farming and converted their lands for commercial use like establishing garages, store centres, recreational activities, etc.

Many landlords have converted their agricultural land into convention centres and leased them to hold marriage and private parties in Medchal, Rangareddy, Vikarabad, Medak, Sangareddy and Yadadri–Bhongir districts. As per the official records, the government has been extending Rythu Bandhu benefit to 63 lakh farmers by spending Rs 7,412 crore in every season. Rich farmers, owning more than 10 acres of land and the farming community, who stopped cultivation, were also receiving the benefit in lakhs of rupees directly through bank accounts.

Poor farmers were at the receiving end as they got only a meagre amount since the benefit is given based on the extent of land holdings they own. Officials said that a decision is expected to come out before the release of Rythu Bandhu benefit to the farmers in a week or 10 days.

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