ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ANDHRA PRADESH-Rayalaseema Waiting for a Rshyasrnga

ANDHRA PRADESH Rayalaseema: Waiting for a Rshyasrnga K Balagopal 'ROADS indicate culture' says a doubtful maxim inscribed by the Public Works Department on a roadside stone slab in Anantapur district. But though 'culture' is not precisely what is indicated, the epigram is perhaps unintendedly apt; for the road in question goes on to Bellary in Karnataka, and it is to the canal-irrigated lands of Bellary that thousands of indigent labourers from Anantapur have trudged" along this very road in search of work and sustenance. The cotton-growing black soil of Bellary under the Tlingabhadra project, colonised by enterprising Kamma cultivators from coastal Andhra, is the nearest thing to Promised Land for poor and landless peasants of drought-ravaged Rayalaseema. No matter that the very exodus has brought down the wage rate for picking cotton from Rs 10 to 5 and even 3 per day, they trudge on nevertheless, for this Promised Land has promised them not Paradise, but just one meal every day, which is three times what they can get in their villages.

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