NIZAMABAD: Hamalis working as labourers at Nizamabad Agricultural Market Yard are worried as their source of income has been steadily dwindling and they have reached a point where they are finding it difficult to take care of their families.
The hamalis have urged the government to allow the sale of all agricultural produce at the market yard. They said three generations have depended on this occupation and have been working at the historical market. Earlier, farmers used to get all agricultural and horticultural produce to the market, but now, it is known only as turmeric market yard.
All crops are being sold in villages and because of that labourers are getting work only for four months. There is hardly any work for the rest of the eight months. Nizamabad has 1,500 labourers, including 300 women. Although farmers brought 70,000 to 1 lakh paddy bags to the market yard this season, the traders completed the purchase work within one day with the help of labourers.
The market yard officials said that till the year 2011-12, farmers used to get almost 10 lakh to 15 lakh quintals of paddy, but it has decreased over the years. Now, the government has opened paddy purchasing centres in all the villages and because of that most of the farmers have stopped getting paddy to the market yard, they said.
“If farmers get can get more than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce they would bring any crop to the market yard. Last season, ryots did not bring soya crop to the market yard. However, this season, they brought 30,000 to 50,000 quintals of soya because they were getting a higher price in the market yard,” said E Venkatesham, Secretary, Nizamabad agricultural market yard. Meanwhile, the hamalis said that the pandemic has added to their woes and many labourers have died from it.
Nizamabad Agricultural Marketyard Hamali Sangam president R Sailu and Secretary A Sailu said that the district administration must come to the rescue of hamalis at this point in time. They urged the officials to open purchase centres in the market yard for villages that are within the 15-km radius as it will ensure sufficient work for the labourers. The market yard has all facilities for farmers so that they can carry out trading safely, they said. Responding to their request, market yard officials said that two Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) centres will be opened in the market yard.