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Farmers flay govt indifference

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Farmers in the district are facing hardship even before the commencement of the cultivation season because of the introduction, on an experimental basis, of biometric system in seed distribution and supply of poor quality seed at the same time. 

Biometric, seed shortage compound their woes

- Biometric system slows down the seed distribution to farmers
- So far, 60,000 quintals of groundnut seed distributed in 63 mandals as against procured 2 lakh quintals
- Rythu Sangham leaders allege that district officials prepared plans for procuring only four lakh quintals of seed when actual
requirement is seven lakh quintals

Anantapur: Farmers in the district are facing hardship even before the commencement of the cultivation season because of the introduction, on an experimental basis, of biometric system in seed distribution and supply of poor quality seed at the same time.

Although, the advanced monsoon is encouraging, they are worried about shortage of seeds and fertilisers, in the light of farming activity becoming a gamble.

The biometric system has slowed down the seed distribution as ryots are facing difficulties in giving the Iris markings and fingerprints. Although the seed distribution commenced last week its pace is slow even the Kharif season is fast approaching. This is worrying farmers.

About 7.5 lakh farmers with passbooks in the district depend on the government for seed supply. Crops perished because of continuous drought in the last three years. While farmers and the Rythu Sangham leaders maintain that seven lakh quintals of seed is the demand, the government has prepared plan to secure only four lakh quintals. Already two lakh quintals have been procured by the State agencies like the Markfed, Oilfed, HACA, say officials.

However, records show that, although the seed distribution programme commenced in 63 mandals of the district, so far only 60,000 quintals has been supplied. If this slow trend continues, farmers would not be able to secure the required groundnut seed, points out worried Rythu Sangham leader Peddi Reddy.

While one bag of seeds of 30 kg at Rs 1,500 is being allotted to each passbook-holder, farmers are demanding at least five bags on each passbook. The Opposition leaders are angry with the Agriculture department officials for deliberately delaying the seed distribution, thus denying government subsidy to ryots, allegedly for earning praise from the higher-ups.

The leaders, like CPM district secretary Rambhupal, allege that agencies and middlemen are actively involved in committing fraud in the ongoing seed distribution. They accuse officials of lacking concrete plans on the distribution of seeds and fertilisers.

However, officials claim that all steps are being taken to provide timely supply of seed and fertilisers to farmers.

While admitting problems with the biometric system, efforts are being made to complete the seed distribution at the earliest, said Sriram Murthy, Joint Director, Agriculture department.

Praveen Payyavula

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