In a remarkable way of protest, several desperate farmers of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh has sent cheques of 68 paise to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his 68th birthday on 17 September.
Thousands of cheques were collected by Rayalaseema Saguneeti Sadhana Samithi (RSSS) to be presented to the PM, marking their ire on the government’s anti-farmer stance. They demand the Centre to pay heed towards the agrarian plight in the region.
The protesting farmers said that contrary to its image of a water-starved region, major rivers such as Krishna and Penna as well as their tributaries Tungabhadra, Vedavati, Handri and Chitravathi, Kundu, Bahuda carry well over 1,000 tmc ft of water each year to the region.
Despite having access to such a large amount of water the region faces eternal drought on account of insufficient irrigation infrastructure which is compounded by biased water allocation, RSSS president Bojja Dasarah Reddy said,
He further told the Deccan Chronicle that to develop the backward region, a special development package was announced on lines of the Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahand special plan in Odisha and the Bundelkhand special package in Madhya Pradesh in the AP State Bifurcation Act.
He said the bifurcation Act also envisaged completing ongoing projects like Handri-Neeva, Galeru-Nagari, the steel plant at Kadapa, railway zone at Guntakal, a number of educational institutes including an agricultural University and health institutes.
Despite the bifurcation Act assuring increased water and funds allocation to complete the projects in a time-bound manner, it had not led to increase in fund allocation.