Second wave of pandemic rubs salt into the wound of Prakasam farmers
The prevailing heatwave circumstances in later half of the March kindled the hopes of Raghava (53), a salt farmer from Kothapatnam village Prakasam district, that he would reap a superb harvest.
As the April proceeded, his hopes shattered as a majority of the employees who scrap salt from pans have contracted coronavirus an infection.
The scenario isn’t any completely different in different coastal villages equivalent to Chinnaganjam, Motumala, Biramkunda, Singarayakonda, Padarthi and and so on., the place the salt extraction is the fundamental financial exercise throughout this half of the yr, in the absence of fishing and farm operations.
It is like the bitter reminiscences of the Cyclonic storm Laila snatching away their ready-to-harvest produce in May 2010 coming again hunt them once more. The farmers are spending sleepless nights as the salt is able to the scrapped and only one spell of unseasonal rain will pressure them into heavy losses.
The climate system creating in the Bay of Bengal additionally has saved the salt farmers on tenterhooks. Thanks to 61-day fishing vacation, fishermen used to compete with farm fingers for work at the sprawling salt pans in summer season.
Now, a majority of the agricultural employees and fishermen should not coming for work as the pandemic didn’t spare the coastal mandals. The authorities have enforced micro-containment exercise to cease the unfold of the an infection.
It is the time the salt extraction work was at its peak, a gaggle of salt farmers from Motumala village instructed The Puucho. They had a troublesome time this yr as the Cyclonic storm Nivar had pressured them to organize salt pans once more from the scratch . “As a result, salt production has been delayed by more than a month,” defined K. Venkateswara Rao, who had taken up salt manufacturing in six acres of land.
“We are finding it difficult to find workers to take to safety the extracted salt,” added one other farmer, S. Jeeva Rao.
The pandemic has not solely hit laborious their well being situation but additionally adversely affected their livelihood, laments a middle-aged farmer Koduri Srinivasulu. The Union and State governments ought to come to the rescue of salt farmers and employees by asserting ex gratia, mentioned Centre of Indian Trade Union Kothapatnam mandal secretary S. Swamy Reddy.
Minimum help value
The authorities ought to repair minimal help value for salt on the strains of the farm produce to keep away from the disagreeable scenario of salt farmers promoting away their produce at a throw-away value to merchants who shaped themselves into a syndicate, he mentioned.
Salt, which is procured at lower than ₹100 per quintal at the pan stage, is nonetheless, offered greater than 10 instances larger the value to customers. And the farmers should not able to indicate the extent of loss incurred as heavy rain throughout the center of the extraction season go away the total pan in a sheet of water and diluting the salt content material, mentioned Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers Union mandal secretary P. Prakasam, whereas stressing on evolving liberal pointers to evaluate the manufacturing loss on account of pure calamity.