YADGIR: The two fodder banks inaugurated by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with much fanfare in Yadgir district during his inspection of drought relief works over a week ago, have just remained showpieces for farmers of the region as they have not started functioning yet.
A visit to the fodder bank at Nayakal village, about 10km from Yadgir town, was an eye-opener, as a heap of paddy hay which was dumped on the day of inauguration, has turned into a play area for children.
“The fodder bank was inaugurated in a hurry by the Chief Minister a week ago. But it is yet to start functioning. The bank will be of no use to us as it will provide just dry fodder (hay). The government wants to supply it to farmers at a price of Rs 3 or 5 per kg, but we will take it only if it is given for free,” farmers of the village told Express.
The government is collecting dry fodder from big farmers free of cost and the only expense it is footing is on transporting the fodder to the banks. The government should offer it free of cost to poor farmers. “It is shameful for the government to sell the fodder to poor farmers after collecting it free of cost from big farmers,” noted Chenna Reddy and Soga Reddy, farmers of the village.
The fodder banks have been opened by the Revenue Department in association with the Veterinary Department.
Speaking to Express, Deputy Director of the Veterinary Department Dr Rajashekar assured that the banks will start functioning in a day or two. “We cannot start functioning till the committee headed by the district Deputy Commissioner decides the price for the fodder,” he said.
The government is contemplating to fix a price of Rs 3 per kg for the dry fodder, which is not acceptable to the farmers. The farmers want the fodder banks to provide them green fodder too.
“We can get dry fodder free of cost in our own neighbourhood. Why should we come to this bank and pay money for the useless dry fodder?” ask local farmers.
“Milch cows need green fodder and we will have to buy it by paying high price from Shahapur and Surpur, which have some greenery due to canal irrigation facility from Upper Krishna project,” rues Chenna Reddy.
The fodder banks have proved a futile exercise in delivering any relief for the cattle wealth of the district, where cattle are being marched for miles in many places to quench their thirst.