Many farmers in Telangana have no option but crop loan waiver

Vagaries of weather left tillers with no source of income to clear debts
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

HYDERABAD: Pittala Sudhakar, a middle-aged farmer and a resident of Veleru village of Hanamkonda district, ended his life two months ago due to mounting debts, leaving behind his family with no source of income to pay off the loan.

His debts included the crop loan he had taken from a bank. Sudhakar’s family says that their only hope is the crop loan waiver which the Congress has promised.

Speaking to TNIE, Sudhakar’s wife Vijaya said, “My husband sunk four borewells in our three acres of land, but they were all dry. We also performed our daughter’s marriage by taking loans. However, there is no source of income to clear the debts. With no way out, he consumed poison in our paddy field.”

Like thousands of farmers across the state, Vijaya is now hopeful that the government will implement the crop loan waiver. Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy has promised to implement the crop loan waiver by August 15.

Like Vijaya, Adothu Venkateshwarlu, a young farmer from the tribal community in the erstwhile Nalgonda district, is relying on the crop loan waiver for relief. He enquired from a key person in the government regarding the implementation of the much-hyped crop loan waiver. Venkateshwarlu was informed that the state government is currently in the process of mobilising funds to implement the scheme.

This uncertainty has left not just Venkateshwarlu, but a significant number of crop loan borrowers who have been eagerly awaiting relief from their mounting debts and compounding interest, on tenterhooks.

The promise of crop loan waivers became a major political issue in the state after its formation. In the run-up to the 2023 Assembly elections, the Congress vowed to waive crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh. This promise has heightened the political discourse, given the previous government’s failure to keep its commitment within time. In 2018, the BRS had pledged to waive loans up to Rs 1 lakh but failed to do so by the end of its second term, leaving many farmers disillusioned.

During the Lok Sabha election campaign, Revanth reassured farmers that the Congress government will implement the crop loan waiver by August 15.

This promise is critical for farmers like Venkateshwarlu, who shared his predicament: “I obtained a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh from a bank. Additionally, I also obtained a loan of Rs 1 lakh on higher interest from my acquaintance. Now, it has become burdensome to pay off my debts. Unless the government comes to my rescue, it will be highly difficult for me to repay the loans.”

The situation for some farmers in the state is dire, exacerbated by unfavourable weather conditions as the state witnessed inadequate rains when it required, followed by untimely rains after the harvest. This has left a section of farming communities in severe distress, with many unable to repay their loans or the compounding interest without government intervention.

As the Congress government’s self-imposed August 15 deadline approaches, all eyes are on the state government to see if it will fulfil its promise amidst financial challenges.

The state’s finances are reportedly in disarray, raising questions about the implementation of the promised relief. The outcome will not only affect the immediate future of the farmers but also the political landscape of the state.

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The New Indian Express