Telangana: Last month, Boorgula Sattiah, a farmer from Medak district in Telangana, returned home from his field and drank pesticide.
- Telangana farmers grew maize on government's advice
- Less than expected rainfall has ruined crops from many
- Farmers now appeal to chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for help
He took this extreme step after the maize crop he had planted on government's advice, failed to grow.
Telangana hasn't seen any rain in the last three weeks and farmers fear that this suicide death could be their own story.
Farmers are now reaching out to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for help.
"Namaskaram KCR garu. You advised us not to grow cotton and we grew maize instead but our entire maize crop is gone. Please help,'' appeals Kanakaiah who belongs to Sirunaralla village in Medak district.
On Telangana government's advice, thousands of farmers shifted from cotton to maize. The area under maize plantation increased from 4.9 lakh hectares to 5.74 lakh hectares while the area under cotton plantation fell from the usual 17 lakh hectares to 12 lakh hectares.
This has added to the farmer crisis as maize cannot withstand moisture stress unlike cotton and needs timely rain. The farmers have lost the entire crop owing to untimely rains.
"When we were buying seeds, there was a lot of publicity that we should not grow cotton and plant maize instead. I grew only maize and I am doomed now. No one has bothered to come to us in the time of need. There's no one to help or save us now," said Mr Kanakaiah.
In neighbouring Peddamasanapally village, 60-year-old Raji Reddy grew maize on 8 acres, investing over Rs 2.5 lakh rupees. His entire crop is now lost.
"Last time, at least 25 per cent of crop flourished. This time, we have lost everything. If the government helps us, we will survive. Otherwise there is no hope,'' said Mr Reddy.