KHAMMAM: Farmers of erstwhile Khammam district are a worried lot.
The Kharif season has arrived, but credit remains inaccessible to them. Most banks are demanding them to pay off their existing loans before they are allowed fresh ones.
To make things worse, the banks are also adjusting loan payments with money being transferred by the State government into farmers’ account as investment support, as part of its fabled Rythu Bandhu scheme.
Ahead of the Assembly elections, the TRS government had promised it would waive farm loans up to Rs 1 lakh, taken before December 2018.
This could not be done due to the model code of conduct being imposed in the State, thanks to back-to-back elections, including for the Lok Sabha.
Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy had said in May that loans would be waived as soon as the model code is removed.
It has been a few weeks since the model code ended, but there has been no news on the waiver yet.
As of now, farmers are in urgent need of money as they plan to get started with Kharif sowing. K Rama Rao, a farmer from Raghunadhapalem near Khammam town, said he has been trying to take a new loan but has been unsuccessful so far.
“When I approached the bank, they told me to pay off the loan I had taken earlier. They even adjusted the Rythu Bandhu amount that was transferred to my account towards loan payment,” he said.
Another farmer, K Venkatanarayana, said there are lakhs of farmers in the region that are in the same boat as him and Rama Rao. “Nearly 4 lakh farmers in erstwhile Khammam district are suffering thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of bankers and the State government,” he said.
D Seetaramaiah, another farmer, hoped the government does not waive loans in a phased manner. “Earlier, loans were waived over four phases. We suffered a lot at that time,” he said.
Meanwhile, some political outfits too want the government to waive crop loans as early as possible.
CPM district unit secretary Nunna Nageshwara Rao said, “The State government’s delay in waiving crop loans is pushing farmers into desperation. Most banks are refusing to issue fresh loans unless existing ones are paid off.”