Telangana: Unseasonal rains coupled with unreliable power supply have driven farmers to despair

Forty-nine-year-old Rachaboina Lakshmi from Mailaram village in Gajwel, the Assembly constituency of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao, is distraught. “I lost my husband Bala Goud, the sole breadwinner in the family. He hanged himself after he was severely depressed with the failure of borewells and crops, and mounting pressure from moneylenders to repay over `10 lakh, a debt burden we have even after selling six out of seven acres of agricultural land the family owned.” She adds that financial help from the government is still awaited. “We had pinned our hopes on the new state but things have worsened,” adds Lakshmi.

Farmers in Telangana are a distressed lot. A delayed monsoon, failed sowings, unseasonal rains and unreliable power supply to agriculture pumpsets — in a state where farming is largely borewell dependent — are taking their toll, with mounting debts pushing farmers to the brink. Thousands of farmers, who took to streets protesting the erratic power supply last season, have all but given up hope. A large section, which turned poorer and more indebted over the last several months, has either decided on a crop holiday or to go for dry crops or migrate to neighbouring states in search of livelihood.

The three-acre crop of sixty-two-year-old Sanda Yadaiah, a pumpkin farmer from Samalapally village, suffered severe damage due to scarcity of water and untimely rains last month. “I have spent more than Rs 80,000 on the three-acre crop. I expected at least Rs 2 lakh of income but I think not even a third is likely, which will be the lowest in the last five years for me.”

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