By: B. Chandrashekhar
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has requested the Central Government team that visited the drought-hit areas in Telangana on Monday and Tuesday to recommend input subsidy to all farmers in the 231 affected mandals and increase employment days under MGNREGS to 200 by linking it to agriculture.
Speaking to the team led by Joint Secretary in the Union Agriculture Ministry Utpal Kumar Singh after conclusion of their field visit, the Chief Minister said such measures were necessary to help people overcome the drought conditions in Telangana. He stated that input subsidy, funds for drinking water supply and fodder were required immediately to help the farming community.
Besides, construction of irrigation projects, improving groundwater table and improving green cover (forest) were also necessary as long-term measures to tackle the drought conditions. Giving their view of the situation, the team members told the Chief Minister that there was no water in water bodies, scarcity of drinking water and farmers were also not able to cultivate crops under borewells due to depletion of groundwater table.
The Chief Minister asked the Central team also recommend providing national project status to one major irrigation project in Telangana stating that the State was not in a position to face the drought conditions due to its discrimination during the combined Andhra Pradesh rule. “Projects were not constructed in Telangana and the once taken up remain incomplete till date. Sriramsagar project taken up in 1964 remaining incomplete so far was one of the glaring examples of discrimination suffered”, he explained to the team.
There was no facility to store river water even as over 1,600 TMC ft was flowing waste into the sea every year. As a result, farmers in Telangana were forced to depend on borewells but they could not cultivate crops under 21 lakh borewells this year due to depletion of groundwater. That was the reason why the State Government had taken up redesigning of irrigation project, Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao said. Further, he told the team that the State Government had taken up Mission Bhagiratha drinking water project to overcome drinking water crisis even during the drought years. He requested Mr. Singh to report the intensity of drought conditions in the State and recommend judicious assistance.
Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, Principal Secretaries S. Narsing Rao (CMO), B.R. Meena (Revenue), Secretary C. Parthasarathi (Agriculture), Advisor to Government A.K. Goel and others participated.
Source: The Hindu