Modi gets birthday present of 68 paise from Andhra farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received an unusual gift from distressed farmers in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh – 400 cheques for 68 paise each, making a 'princely' total of Rs272. Modi turned 67, going on 68, on Sunday.

Rayalaseema Saguneeti Sadhana Samiti (RSSS), a non-profit group working for drought-hit farmers in Rayalaseema, sent the cheques to highlight the agrarian crisis faced by four districts in the region.

"We are sending 68 paise cheques as a token to draw your attention to our backwardness," RSSS co-convener Yerva Raamachandra Reddy wrote in the covering letter.

The group claimed that Rayalaseema remains one of the most backward regions in the country despite being one of the richest in natural resources. Kurnool, Anantpur, Chittoor and Kadapa districts lack water despite rivers like the Krishna and Penna passing through it.

Among these districts, Anantpur receives the second-lowest rainfall after Thar desert in the country.

They claim that politicians are not interested in the farmer crisis in Rayalaseema because it lacks political influence.

"Both Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and opposition leader Jaganmohan Reddy are from Rayalaseema. Yet they are not focusing attention on the region because there are only 54 MLA seats here and the rest are in the coastal region. So they focus all their attention there," an RSSS member told the media.