Debt-ridden farmers pin hopes on channel works

By TheHindu on 01 May 2018

The nearly 1,000 population largely depend on their local tank at Siddhareddypalem village in Dagadarthi area but lack of rains for over five years caused unexpected problems like failed crops pushing the farmers into losses and debts.

The situation has become so difficult that the residents are forced to go long distances in search of work and sell away cattle and lands.

Cattle owners in the village are facing a very tough time this year as fodder scarcity is forcing them to buy it from far away villages at Rs. 100 per bunch. In the face of the increasing burdens and losses, they are being forced to sell away the livestock eventually.

“Our problems are increasing each year and this is mainly because of lack of rains. If the channel works are not completed to fill our village tank in a year or so, we will have to migrate,” laments K. Konda Reddy, a farmer having 10 acres in Siddhareddypalem limits.

All these years, they mostly depended on the local rain-fed irrigation tank but absence of rains for so many years led to the total drying up of the tank. The borewells in the surrounding agricultural fields also dried up in view of the depleting ground water table there.

Some farmers have spent lakhs of rupees on borewells but this has turned out to be useless in the prevailing situation. These farmers have been pushed into debts eventually, and many of them are forced to migrate to other places in search of livelihood.

Pending works

Even when there were rains and plenty of water, they could cultivate only one crop of paddy per year unlike in the nearby delta areas which have canal supply from Kaligiri and Sangam reservoirs enabling the farmers there to go for two to three crops a year, explains Mr. Konda Reddy.

The works on the channel from Srikolanu branch canal were started long time back but further works are yet to be completed to connect it finally to the Siddhareddypalem tank.

Distress sale

Because of the prevailing drought conditions, the goat and livestock rearers are unable to provide fodder. “As there is no water and fodder, many rearers have sold away their goats already. They are working now and then for a daily wage of Rs. 300 to Rs. 150,” says Malli Subbarayudu, a small farmer at Ithampudi village.