Hyderabad/Medak: Pushed to the wall, literally, farmers in the district are cutting down age-old trees in their agricultural land for a pittance just to make both ends meet. With the prevailing drought conditions and no assistance from State government, the farmers are resorting to chopping down trees for amount as low as Rs 3,000.

 In the last one month, close to 100 trees in Medak district have been cut down. Eppa Dayakar who owns two acres in Thimmakapalli village in Daulatabad mandal in Medak district chopped down two tamarind trees and Gum Arabic (Babul) tree for which he received just Rs 6,000. He says, “I very well know it took years for these trees to grow but I have no other option as the crops failed this year too.”

 Another farmer Oggu Kanakaiah of Vetigadda Kishtapur in the same district sold four 40-year-old neem trees and two Gum Arabic (Babul) trees for Rs 15,000. He said, “For the second consecutive year we had a crop loss and I am in serious debt. There is no food stock left and I need to feed my children. I would never have chopped the trees but for the present state I am in.”  Earlier in drought period, the farmers would sell cattle as the last resort to make ends meet. This time in what may be termed as a new trend, farmers are selling off trees in their land.

 Though the Telangana government declared 231 out of 443 rural mandals in the State as drought-affected and sought Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre for taking relief measures, the plight of the farmers at present is pitiable to say the least. Agriculture Secretary C Parthasarathy said, “Input subsidy may be given for Kharif season in May and Rs 600- Rs 800 crore is expected.”

 Kiran Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika says, “The government needs to come to the rescue of the farmers. Interim relief is important. Even in 2011 farmers cut down trees in hundreds in Adilabad. What is worrisome is if one farmer starts it spreads like wildfire. Chopping down trees can have a drastic effect on the soil condition as trees maintain 

 Recently, Maddi Narayan (35), a farmer from Gajulapalli village fell from a tree and died on the spot. Mana Daulatabad Rythu Rajyam a WattsApp group formed by farmers eight months ago pooled in Rs 8,500 and gave the grieving family. Eppa Dayakar says, “Neither local politicians nor the government is coming to the aid of farmers. Even the compensations announced by the government never reach farmers. We have made several representations to the government to avail.”

Tags: Telangana