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CM to lead all-party delegation to Centre on drought

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy will lead an all-party delegation to New Delhi seeking financial assistance from the Centre for the drought-hit farmers in the State.

Replying to a debate on drought situation in the State Legislative Assembly here on Sunday, the Chief Minister said that the enumeration work in the drought-hit areas was nearing completion. Once the enumeration is over, he would lead a team to New Delhi seeking Centre’s assistance. He admitted that the State has been experiencing one of the worst drought in history. However, he denied the opposition’s allegations that the State Government has failed to help the distressed farmers.

The Chief Minister said that the government was spending nearly Rs 27,000 crore per annum to provide free power to farmers. About Rs 31,000 crore loans have been given to farmers and no interest would be charged if they return the loan within one year. He said the government has taken up a drinking water project for the affected areas at a cost of Rs 51 crore which would be completed within 100 days. Further, efforts are on to provide employment for 200 days to the affected farmers under the NREGS. The government will also create a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of Indira Jala Prabha scheme.

Kiran Kumar Reddy said that the government plans to provide godown facility to store 25 lakh metric tonnes of agricultural produce. Of this, space to preserve 10 lakh metric tonnes of food would be ready by April 2012. The rest would be completed by December 2012. He said once the godown space is created, the farmers would be able to preserve their produce for longer periods.

Regarding input subsidy, the Chief Minister said that while the Centre was providing Rs 4,000 per hectare, the state government is giving Rs 2,000 per hectare as input subsidy to farmers. However, he said representation was being made to the Centre to increase the subsidy to Rs 10,000 per hectare. He also refuted the allegations that the government has failed to increase the Minimum Support Price for paddy. Quoting statistics, he said the paddy’s MSP has been increased from Rs 590 to Rs 1020 per tonne. He said the government was trying to increase it further by Rs 120.

Kiran Kumar Reddy said that the Sakala Janula Samme, the general strike demanding Telangana, has caused immense financial loss to the State. He said the general strike has affected the power generation in six States. He said the government has spent Rs 730 crore to buy power, gas and coal from other State during the strike period.

However, the Chief Minister claimed that the situation has now improved and the State was aiming to become power surplus state. Referring to the on-going power cuts, he said since the overhauling of two power stations was going on, power cuts have been imposed in some areas or sectors. But the power cuts would be completely lifted in the next 15 days.

Kiran Kumar Reddy said that the government was committed for the welfare of farmers and asked the House to send a message that the drought-hit farmers in the State were not alone. (INN)

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