HYDERABAD: With agricultural operations in full swing this monsoon season, Covid-19 precautions have gone for a toss in the farm sector. This has resulted in a sharp surge in the positive cases, causing concern among farm experts and officials.
As many as 29 farm labourers have tested positive for Covid-19 in Jagtial district alone. With many of them travelling together in autos or other means of transport and not maintaining social distance, Covid-19 cases have seen a jump in recent times.
Sarpanch Mallavva of Muddutla village in Malyala mandal organised a testing camp in the village after some farm labourers had shown Covid-19 symptoms. As many as 10 of them who had travelled in packed autos tested positive. Of 130 people tested in the village, 29 tested positive. The village is now in a ‘self-imposed’ lockdown till July-end.
It is during the beginning of the kharif season that farm labourers are most sought after. This is also the time when they earn good wages. “Since they are in demand, they will prefer to go where they are likely to get more wages. They travel in groups in order to save money,” Ponnam Satyanarayana, a native of Jagtial, said.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has advised that farmers take necessary precautions and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. It said social distancing norms should be followed and farm workers should maintain personal hygiene, wear face masks and also clean implements and machinery. It was also advised that farm workers should maintain a distance of three to four feet among themselves while partaking meals or engaged in work.
“There is no negligence on the part of the farm workers. We have seen that they do take care. However, there could be some compulsions arising out of the economic crisis that force them to travel together,” GV Ramanjaneyulu of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture said. “Farm workers need protection against Covid-19 and authorities must see to it that they are inoculated,” he said.
Senior officials of the agriculture department said the farm workers must follow all Covid-19 precautions and norms.


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