Telangana Lawmakers Turn 'Progressive Farmers' for All Expense Paid Trip to Israel

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Telangana Lawmakers Turn 'Progressive Farmers' for All Expense Paid Trip to Israel

The Telangana government's order lists legislators as "progressive farmers" for a trip to Israel


Hyderabad:  In Telangana, farmers have suffered massive crop loss first due to drought and then due to unseasonal rain and a reported 700 farmers have committed suicide in less than a year. But next week, it is lawmakers who will travel to Israel to learn how to improve agricultural productivity. They are listed as "progressive farmers" in a government order on the trip.

The eight-member delegation is to visit Tel Aviv for four days from April 27. It is led by the agriculture minister and includes his personal secretary, besides other officials. The government's order, however, says it is a "visit to Israel by certain officers and progressive farmers" attending the International Agriculture Exhibition.

The legislators say it is not wrong to be designated as farmers, since they do own agricultural land and can understand and choose the best technology for farmers in their constituencies. The argument doesn't wash, says the opposition.

"Why haven't real farmer been sent? Or even experts? The delegation only has TRS (the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti) leaders who haven't had the chance to visit any foreign country," said Konagala Mahesh, a Telangana Congress leader.

He accused the state government of brazenly misusing public funds.

Telangana is among the states worst hit by crop damage.

Over 700 farmers have killed themselves since June last year, when Telangana was born out of Andhra Pradesh and a new TRS government took power in India's newest state.

The farmers say the crisis was exacerbated by the promise of a loan waiver; they got no institutional loan and had to borrow at very high prices.


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