The gesture of Chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in offering a remunerative price of Rs. 7.50 a kg (for Totapuri variety) exclusively to the mango farmers of Chittoor district from July 4, has come as a breather to them. The price slipped to the lowest of Rs. 4 a kg this year, as against the last year’s Rs. 15 to Rs. 18. While the government would chip in Rs. 2.50 per kg as part of hike, Rs. 1 comes from the pulp industries.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Collector P.S. Pradyumna said 17 pulp factories in Chittoor district were directed to strictly avoid taking stocks from other districts, and consider the produce of the local farmers. He said that the exercise of purchasing the mango produce from farmers would last till July 20. “As this nod from Chief Minister is exclusively for mango growers of Chittoor district, the police will mount surveillance at the check posts to prevent stocks from outside entering the district,” he said.

The Collector said that the entire amount would be credited to the individual bank accounts of farmers. Bank officials have been instructed not to deduct any amount from their accounts in the name of pending payments for various crop loans. “Each and every rupee transacted on mango trade should reach the farmers,” he said.

The official said that the stocks from the orchards would be lifted in the presence of a local committee with the presence of staff from agriculture, horticulture, revenue departments and local panchayats. The farmers have to compulsorily furnish their Aadhaar details. Valid receipts would be issued, and the same would rechecked at the factories, before making payment. “The police and revenue officials are instructed to tackle the menace of middlemen and prevent manipulation from their side,” Mr. Pradyumna said.

Minister for Industries N. Amarnatha Reddy urged the farmers not to get disheartened as the government would stand by them during the present crisis. Steps would be taken to help the farmers of far away places within Chittoor district, to transport their stocks to the pulp industries.

Meanwhile, the Horticulture Department officials said the gesture would impact farmers, covering about 80,000 hectares, with an expected stock of 1.8 lakh tonnes.

Later, Mr. Amarnatha Reddy, Mr. Pradyumna, MLC Dorababu, Satyavedu MLA Talari Aditya and senior officials of the line departments paid a visit to the Jain Irrigation Systems, a premier pulp factory at GD Nellore near Chittoor and interacted with the management regarding the decision to extend remunerative price to the mango growers.

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