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Farmers in different districts across the State are complaining that even during the crucial Yasangi season, erratic power supply is becoming a major concern for them. In many areas, power supply is disrupted mostly in the evenings, with the power cuts stretching for four to five hours.

Along with fears of water shortage for irrigation and now the power cuts, farmers say they have another major fear that could materalise in the coming days. This was the escalating input costs, which have been aggravated due to pest attacks.

Take the case of farmers in Nagaram, Pothireddypet and neighbouring villages in Dubbak mandal in Siddipet. They say power cuts ranging from four to five hours in the evening and escalating input costs are threatening to push them into debt traps this year.

“There is no stipulated schedule for the power supply disruption. The power cuts usually commence at 5 pm and can continue till 10 pm or 11 pm. The next day, it could be from 6 pm to midnight,” says Tirupati Goud, a farmer in Nagaram village.

Interestingly, the power cuts are affecting only the agricultural sector, with no such complaints from the domestic sector. On the other hand, the farmers are anxious about the yield this Yasangi season. It has been just over a month since paddy transplantation, and with another 60 to 80 days left for harvest, there are apprehensions over the impact of the erratic power supply.

Farmers like Tirupati Goud and his brother Krishnaiah Goud have been cultivating paddy in their fields in the village since long.

“For the first time, we are worried. There are extensive pest attacks and we are forced to spray chemicals multiple times, resulting in increased input costs,” says Krishnaiah Goud, showing dry fields with cracked earth in some parts due to improper



irrigation.

A Chinna Dubba Reddy, another farmer in the village, says he invested nearly Rs.90,000 in his three acre-paddy field.

“I have to repay loans. If the crop fails, I will have to work as a watchman in Hyderabad to meet both ends meet,” Dubba Reddy says while showing the pest infested transplants.

Another farmer Srinivas Reddy says traders in Bhoompally were demanding extra payment for fertilizers and urea. Till a few days back, they were demanding Rs.265 for a urea bag and now they were charging about Rs 280 to Rs 300, he says, adding that there was no proper communication from agriculture officers either on the issue.

Considering the present status of the fields, many farmers are losing hopes this season.

“Forget about the harvest or any profit. It will be an achievement if we recover the investment,” says Vinodha, another farmer.

The situation is similar in the neighbouring Pothireddypet village. Unmindful of the scorching heat, Srikanth is tilling a portion of his 12 acres in the village for paddy transplantations for the second time this season.

“I have no choice. The pest attack has been severe. It has been over a month and not a single agricultural officer has inspected our fields,” he says.

In Suryapet, farmers were forced to stage protests on paddy fields after the paddy crop started withering due to lack of water. The situation there turned worse after the State government declared a crop holiday for the Yasangi season to areas in the ayacut under the left canal of the Nagarjuna Sagar Project, citing shortage of water in the project.

Farmers, depending on borewells, had taken up cultivation of paddy at Kalmalapally, but with the bore-wells drying up fast, the paddy crop has started withering.
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