VIJAYAWADA: After sending a report to the Centre seeking an additional financial assistance of Rs 1,401.54 crore for drought relief operations in the State, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has urged the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) to consider it on humanitarian grounds and ensure that Andhra Pradesh gets the aid.
While interacting with the IMCT, which called on him at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi on Friday, the Chief Minister said that the Centre should come forward to extend financial assistance to the drought-hit farmers by relaxing norms based on the ground realities.
“There should not be any delay in resolving farmers’ problems as it will lead to unrest. Generally, farmers have a lot of patience. If their patience is tested, they will up the ante against the government. The nation cannot forget the protest marches conducted by lakhs of farmers in Delhi and Mumbai and the protests by Tamil Nadu farmers in the national capital. Keeping it in mind, the Central government should resolve farmers’ problems on priority basis,’’ the Chief Minister said. Stating that Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh has been facing continuous drought despite several initiatives taken by the government to conserve irrigation water, the Chief Minister said that farmers are getting demoralised due to crop loss. Steps should be taken to ensure stable agricultural income to promote growth, he said.
The State government officials submitted a report to the IMCT stating that AP has been facing drought for the seventh consecutive year. The average rainfall received in Kharif season during 2018-19 stood at 456.6 mm as against the normal rainfall of 556.0 mm. Dry spell was recorded in 522 mandals in the State. Hence, the government declared 347 mandals in nine districts drought-hit for implementation of relief measures. Over 16.52 lakh small and marginal farmers were affected by drought and crops in 13.6 lakh hectares were damaged, the officials said.
A memorandum was submitted to the IMCT seeking an additional financial assistance of Rs 1,401.54 crore from the Centre. The officials sought department-wise allocation of funds towards aid. A sum of Rs 979.83 crore was sought for agriculture input subsidy, Rs 1.85 crore for horticulture, Rs 124.58 crore for rural water supply and sanitation, Rs 133.21 crore for urban water supply and Rs 162.06 crore for animal husbandry. The IIMCT inspected drought affected Nellore, Prakasam, Kadapa, Chittoor, Kurnool and Anantapur districts.
Responding positively to the appeal for additional aid, the IMCT said that it would submit a report to the Centre within a week. Earlier, the team met Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha. Special Chief Secretary to CM Satish Chandra, Secretary A Rajamouli, Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Manmohan Singh, Commissioner of Horticulture Chiranjeevi Chowdary and others were present.