Sale of subabul, eucalyptus suspended in Prakasam

Sale of subabul and eucalyptus by farmers to paper mills was suspended from Friday as the latter allegedly failed to honour the agreement reached at the behest of the State government.

Prakasam Joint Collector S.Nagalakshmi, who chairs the committee formed to oversee implementation of the agreement, has assured social forestry planters of holding a meeting next week to break the deadlock.

Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham-led Kavulu Rythu Sangham district secretary P.Hanumantha Rao sought the intervention of Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu as the paper mills drove down by more than half the purchase price of Rs. 4,400 per tonne and Rs. 4,200 per tonne respectively fixed by the government.

The paper mills also bypassed the Agricultural Market Committees (AMCs) formed to oversee the implementation of the agreement and managed to purchase the logs through their network of agents, Hanumantha Rao said.

Hopes belied

Farmers in the drought-prone district switched over from tobacco to social forestry plantations in a big way thanks to the encouragement provided by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to provide assured income for the farmers on the one hand and reduce the dependence on imported wood pulp.

The AMC-regulated market ensured fair price for ryots and the extent under social forestry plantation went up to 2 lakh acres.

Now the farmers have started uprooting the trees to cultivate tobacco, pulses and other crops as they are not in a position to break even.

AMC role preferred

The AMCs should once again regulate the sale of logs and ensure remunerative price to the grower, said CPI(M)-led Rythu Sangham leader K.Koteswara Rao.

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