AP govt draws flak over drought relief for farmers

The Kiran Kumar Reddy govt in came under fire from a combined opposition for "failing" to come to the rescue of farmers.

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2011, 00:27 AM IST

Hyderabad: The Kiran Kumar Reddy government in
Andhra Pradesh came under fire from a combined opposition in
the state Assembly on Sunday for "failing" to come to the rescue
of farmers reeling under a severe drought this season.

The main opposition TDP staged a walk out from the House
this evening protesting the government`s failure to give
concrete assurance on addressing the farmers` concerns.

The CPI, CPM and BJP members too walked out on the same
issue at the fag end of a two-day debate on the drought
situation.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who intervened in the
debate, admitted that the agriculture sector was indeed facing
a grave crisis in the state.

"The prospects of ensuing Rabi crop season may be bleak
as the ground water levels have depleted across the state
because of the drought. The government has so far declared 876
mandals (tehsils) as drought-affected. There could also be a
severe shortage of fodder for cattle," he said.

The state government has written to the Centre requesting
it to enhance input subsidy for farmers to Rs 10,000 an acre.
Though the Centre is currently granting only Rs 4,000 per acre
towards input subsidy, the state government is paying Rs
6,000, he said.

Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy said 5,261 farmers
committed suicide in the state between 1998 and 2011, as per
official records.

"This year 71 farmers committed suicide, while 290 ended
their lives last year due to agriculture-related problems,"
the minister said.

Raghuveera Reddy`s remarks against the TDP, during the
course of his reply to the debate, triggered strong protests
from the party MLAs. At one point, the minister made a certain
remark forcing the TDP members to storm the Speaker`s podium
and raise a protest.

PTI