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Andhra Pradesh: Second wave of pandemic rubs salt into the wound of Prakasam farmers by S.Murali May 04,2021   |  Source: The Hindu

The prevailing heatwave conditions in later part of the March kindled the hopes of Raghava (53), a salt farmer from Kothapatnam village Prakasam district, that he would reap a good harvest. As the April proceeded, his hopes shattered as a majority of the workers who scrap salt from pans have contracted coronavirus infection. The situation is no different in other coastal villages such as Chinnaganjam, Motumala, Biramkunda, Singarayakonda, Padarthi and etc., where the salt extraction is the main economic activity during this part of the year, in the absence of fishing and farm operations. It is like the bitter memories of the Cyclonic storm Laila snatching away their ready-to-harvest produce in May 2010 coming back hunt them again. The farmers are spending sleepless nights as the salt is ready to the scrapped and just one spell of unseasonal rain will force them into heavy losses. The weather system developing in the Bay of Bengal also has kept the salt farmers on tenterhooks.

Thanks to 61-day fishing holiday, fishermen used to compete with farm hands for work at the sprawling salt pans in summer. Now, a majority of the agricultural workers and fishermen are not coming for work as the pandemic did not spare the coastal mandals. The authorities have enforced micro-containment

 

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)