Hyderabad: Telangana State is rewriting history by becoming the first, not just in the country but the world, to offer investment subsidy to farmers, Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy has said. “Even during Rama Rajya and the rule of Ashoka, farmers were taxed. No king has done what our king, our Chief Minister, is doing,” the Minister told the Legislative Assembly during Question Hour on Monday.
Srinivas Reddy said the Rythu Lakshmi scheme has earned universal praise and Central ministers and officials could not believe that the Telangana government was not going to ask the farmers to pay back the money being given to them as part of this scheme. The Agriculture Minister said distribution of Rs 4,000 cheques to farmers for the Kharif season this year will begin on April 20 and will be completed by the end of May. And for Yasangi (Rabi) crop, the investment assistance will be distributed from November 20. The cheques, he said, will be distributed by local elected representatives and a schedule of the distribution dates will be publicized in all villages in advance.
The Minister said based on land records, a total of 72,13,111 farmers will receive this benefit in the State this year. The farmers can deposit the cheques in six banks, including SBI, Andhra Bank, Corporation Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Syndicate Bank. The farmers can immediately encash their cheques and this issue has already been discussed with the State Level Bankers Committee to ensure trouble-free transactions, the Minister added.
The recent land record verification has cleared the ownership of 96 per cent of farm land which have been declared dispute free. Ownership of only four per cent of land used by farmers was still under disputes and officials are inquiring into this issue to ensure the rightful and correct ownership is recorded. The Minister, answering questions from different members, said the matter of land being tilled in Agency areas and the complications of identifying beneficiaries has been taken to the attention of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. With respect to sikham land (falling under full tank level of water bodies), cultivation in forest areas and podu land as well as land given under Recognition of Forest Rights (RoFR) Act, such claims of ownership are being examined and farmers tilling such land will receive the benefit only after their ownership claims are fully established. “Officials have been told not to rush on this front,” Srinivas Reddy said.
He also said as far as tenant farmers are concerned, the matter of passing on the cash benefit to such persons is between the land owner and the tenant farmer. Farmers raising long duration crops such as sugar cane or horticultural crops will be given the benefit in two instalments, he clarified.