In an era when farmers’ suicides in India assumed alarming dimensions, a new movement is brewing in the villages of Naxal-hit Abujhmad. A certain section of the media has reported that several villagers in Abujhmad, a hilly forest area in Chhattisgarh, are selling paddy to the government, apparently a first for many of them.
What makes this feat highly impressive is the fact that Abujhmad has missed several welfare schemes since it’s not surveyed by the government. The land survey had slowed after Maoists murdered a revenue department employee in 2019. The death of a security personnel from the Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) through an explosive device further delayed the process. Understandably, the report adds, that land survey could be completed in only 174 out of 420 villages in Narayanpur, one of the districts in Abujhmad.
The farmers have finally benefited from the government’s decision in 2019 to give out land ownership deeds owing to the absence of land surveys. The report says government officials visited Abujhmad to determine ownership status, after which they were issued the land ownership deeds or masahati pattas. Farmers who qualified were eligible for welfare schemes and could procure paddy at MSP rates.
Now, the farmers are selling paddy at a Minimum Support Price (MSP) to the government. The report highlights that from 20 out of 130 farmers selling paddy, the number has risen to 50 this year.
A young farmer has made nearly Rs 20,000 from nine quintals of paddy this year as opposed to Rs 10,000 from sales to private traders last season. The sarpanch of the village earned Rs 46,000 for around 20 quintals, up from Rs 22,000 for the same amount of paddy sold privately.
The numbers are gradually growing impressively. The report claims that in 2022, 6,000 quintals of paddy were procured from Abujhmad’s Orchha locality. The procurement touched 16,000 quintals this year. A little over 2,500 farmers have registered to sell paddy. Seven hundred and twenty farmers who have masahati pattas have sold their produce to the government for Rs 4.22 crore at an MSP of Rs 2,060 per quintal. These farmers, the report states, are eligible for Rs 1.22 crore under the state’s Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana. The state budget, under this scheme, allocated Rs 6,000 crore, which entitles farmers to Rs 9,000 per acre per year.
Now, plans are afoot to get Kisan Credit Cards of the registered farmers so that they can avail of subsidies on fertilisers. What’s more, they will be eligible for money under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana and insurance under the Fasal Bima Yojana.