Crops ready, but few to harvest

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Darbhanga, May 9 : The farmers in the fertile belt of Darbhanga are facing an acute shortage of farm labour these days as agricultural workers have shifted to jobs with better wages.

With crops ready in the fields, the farmers are short of hands for harvesting them. The government's policy of providing work to the landless in the countryside is weaning away agricultural workers from the farmlands.

Shortage of farm labour has added to the already existing woes of farmers due to poor irrigation and lack of cold storage facilities.

" The government is not taking care of the farmers. Those who should be getting money are not getting anything. The farmers ate not getting a penny and those who are working as labourers otherwise they are getting good money. This is the situation here," said Suman Kumar Bhagat, village head.

Government has launched several employment generation schemes in rural areas where workers are paid on the basis of minimum fixed daily wage which labourers claim is much higher than the wages they receive for working at farmlands.

"Here we get 30-40 rupees only. And the government pays us 100-150 rupees. That is a better option for us. This is the reason why we do not help the farmers in their work," said Pawan Kumar Yadav, a labourer.

Agriculture in India continues to be highly laboured intensive and supports nearly 60 percent of the 1 billion-plus population but forms only 20 percent of the economy.

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