Press Release: Hyderabad, August 27, 2018
Tenant Farmers demand Rythu Bandhu and LEC cards;
Hundreds of Tenant farmers, Women farmers and other cultivators at First ever “Cultivators’ Rights Meet” at Hyderabad on August 27, 2018
For the first time, hundreds of tenant farmers, women farmers, adivasi farmers, and temple-land cultivators gathered for a “Cultivators’ Rights Meet” at Hyderabad today. Anger and outrage marked the speeches of the farmers, who castigated the Telangana government and the Chief Minister for excluding the real cultivators and giving thousands of crores in Rythu Bandhu support to non-cultivating land owners. Women farmers from farmer suicide families spoke movingly about their plight and the criminal neglect by the government. Two demands rang out clearly – that the Rythu Bandhu investment support should go to the Real Cultivators like tenant farmers and adivasi farmers; and that all tenant farmers should be given Loan and Other Eligibility Cards as per the 2011 Licensed Cultivators Act. A protest rally taken out by the farmer unions after the meet was blocked by the police.
The Meet was organized by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) – Telangana consisting of 24 farmer organizations including all major farmer unions. The meeting was presided jointly by Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Ketchela Rangayya of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, T.Sagar of Telangana Rythu Sangham and K.Suryanarayana of Telangana Rashtra Rythu Sangham. Some of the important speakers were S.Malla Reddy, Vice President of All India Kisan Sabha, Justice Chandra Kumar, former High Court judge, Vemulapalli Venkatramayya of AIKMS, Pasya Padma from CPI, Nandyala Narasimha Reddy, former MLA from CPM, Vara Vara Rao of Virasam, Beeram Ramulu of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, and Sayanna of Telangana Raitanga Samiti.
Tenant Farmers Missed Call Campaign & Helpline Announced: All tenant farmers in the state were requested to participate in the Missed Call campaign by making a missed call to 040-3956-0444. Announcing the campaign, Kirankumar Vissa said, “Since the Chief Minister questions the existence of tenant farmers in Telangana, we urge every tenant farmer to give a missed call so that we can show Mr.KCR that there are lakhs of tenant farmers in the state and they are ready to demand their rights.” A helpline for tenant farmers was also launched, and farmers were urged to call 8500 98 3300 to enlist their problems.
The opening speakers in the meeting were two women who are victims of farmer suicides by tenant farmers – R.Venkatamma of Brahmanapalli village, Madugula mandal, Ranga Reddy district, and M.Swapna of Akkarajupalli, Tarigoppula mandal, Jangaon district. They expressed anger at the Telangana government at completely neglecting tenant farmers, and detailed how they got into deep debt with moneylenders leading to suicide by the farmers. Two more tenant farmers who spoke were Rapolu Narsi Reddy of Yadadri district and Md. Khaja of Gadwal district. Venkata Reddy from Shabad mandal, Ranga Reddy district shared his anguish about how 400 families in his village were
dependent on cultivating 1148 acres of temple land on lease, and they have neither received Loan Eligibility Cards nor Rythu Bandhu support despite repeated pleas to the government. Subhash Reddy from Huzurnagar mandal, Suryapet district shared about their situation cultivating temple lands on lease in their village. Yalakam Chalamayya, a tribal farmer cultivating forest lands in Kothagudem district, told the meeting that they were completely dependent on cultivating forest land for many decades, but despite the Forest Rights Act, they neither got the pattas nor any support from the government.
In the much-hyped Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana government, more than 20 lakh actual cultivators are not getting the benefit they are entitled to – despite being the most deserving sections to receive “Investment support for cultivation”. There are 15 lakh tenant farmers, nearly 2 lakh adivasi farmers cultivating forest lands, cultivators of temple and wakf lands, and lakhs of other small cultivators who do not have a proper land title – who have been kept out of the Rythu Bandhu scheme, while the benefit of Rs.8000 per acre is going to a few lakh non-cultivating land owners including businesspeople, employees, political leaders and even NRIs, who are not spending any money on cultivation.
The meeting ended with all the participants taking a resolve that they will wage a joint fight until they achieve their rights.
For more information contact: Kirankumar Vissa: 9701705743; Pasya Padma: 9866102497; V. Venkatramayya: 8639873720; T.Sagar: 9490098055; Sayanna: 9703223816; Achutharamarao: 9493965699; K.Ravi: 9912928422;