Distribution of seeds for raising alternative crops in V. Kota mandal of Chittoor district has been allegedly hit by malpractices and political interference.
The State government has allocated nine metric tonnes of horse-gram seeds for free distribution to the farmers of the mandal. Farmers of V. Kota mandal, a perennially drought-prone area in the western revenue division of the district, mostly depend on groundnut crop. However, owing to prolonged dry spell since several years, the farmers had slowly become adaptive to alternative crops such as horse gram.
On Tuesday, the distribution of horse gram seeds commenced at the mandal Agriculture department office. A large number of farmers from various villages thronged the venue, and were forced to stand in long queues from morning. Farmers alleged that though each farmer has to be given 12 kg, the mandal level officials initiated the distribution without following the biometric norm. As the entire process was done manually, the farmers were subjected to a lot of hardships.
With horse gram commanding good price at ₹70 a kg in the market, the crop has been luring the farmers in the region since a couple of years. It was alleged that officials gave priority to the recommendation of local leaders, and distributed 50 to 75 kg of seeds to each farmer, and even allotted the quota twice to the same farmer, by accepting photocopies of the Aadhaar card.
Chandrappa from Verrinagepalle village said that in the absence of distribution through biometric system, the free distribution of seeds had benefited big farmers who obtained stocks in large quantities. Another farmer, Prabhakar from Mummederlapalle village, expressed doubts about the distribution of nine tonnes of seeds on a single day.