The much-hyped programme Rythu Bandhi launched by Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to provide cash incentive of Rs 8,000 per acre per year is going to land him in deep trouble.The tenant farmers are said to be fuming and fretting over KCR’s statement made at the public meeting in Gadwal that tenants cannot be treated as owners just because they are cultivating.
“How can you give ownership benefits to tenant farmers? Can we treat a tenant of a house as its owner, just because he is paying rent?” he asked.This is definitely a wrong argument, as land belongs to the tiller and not its owner who doesn’t involve in cultivation.Since the tiller makes all the investments on land to produce crop, he should get the cash incentive and not the land owner who doesn’t invest a single rupee on agriculture but gets his annual rent.
That is what the Hyderabad high court also felt while hearing a petition on Rythu Bandhu. The court pulled up the Telangana government and sought to know why the benefits of the state’s Rythu Bandhu scheme did not extend to tenant farmers.It served notices on the officials of the Agriculture and Revenue departments along with the Principal Secretary.Thousands of farmers staged road blockades across six districts of Telangana earlier this month, blocking the highway from Karimnagar to Khammam-Bhadrachalam to raise their voices in protest against the exclusion of 15 lakhs real cultivators, including tenant and adivasi farmers, from the state’s ‘Rythu Bandhu’ scheme.
The protests which took place in Karimnagar, Warangal (Urban and Rural), Mahbubabad, Kothagudem and Khammam districts were jointly organized by various farmer organisations and supported by political parties including Professor Kodandaram’s Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and Left parties.
The farmers also demanded the implementation of the 2011 Licensed Cultivators Act to grant recognition to all cultivators including tenant farmers.