Chandrababu Naidu to launch flagship programme to make AP 'drought-free'

 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will launch his government's major programme 'Neeru-Chettu' (water-tree) on Thursday, which is aimed at making the state "drought-free".

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will launch his government's major programme 'Neeru-Chettu' (water-tree) on Thursday, which is aimed at making the state "drought-free".

On the eve of the launch of the programme at Tamballapalle in Chittoor district, Naidu said the initiative has to be taken up on a campaign mode, eventually making it a people's movement.

Ministers, Districts Collectors and nodal officers would launch the programme simultaneously tomorrow at the district and mandal level.

Through 'Neeru-Chettu', the government aims to make AP a drought-free state by encouraging plantations and through 100 per cent drip and sprinkler irrigation in the drought-hit areas, a state government release said.

The objectives of the programme are: inventory of existing water harvesting structures and repairs to them, construction of new water harvesting structures using the remote-sensing or geo-tagging technology, construction of recharge pits through roof-water collection, de-silting of tanks and breach restoration, better water management through improved-agricultural practices.

Under the programme, the government would focus on planting saplings, enhancing ground-water table and utilising available resources through environmental protection.

Noting that the programme has to benefit the community ultimately, the Chief Minister said it should create a relationship between people and nature and only then would it be absorbed into the community.

Similarly, the Chief Minister pointed out that district officials should work with irrigation, rural development, municipal administration, forest and other related departments.

They should also have brainstorming sessions on novel ways to implement the programme, he said.

He also suggested that district officials could consult retired engineers or experts from the field or communities to create effective structures like check-dams, etc.

"You have to think out-of-the-box and identify low-hanging fruits," he told officials.

The Chief Minister said all the updates regarding the works carried out will be online and geo-tagged based on the locations.

Later, satellite mapping will also be carried out. Those who have implemented best practices and have achieved results will be awarded.

This, according to Naidu, will increase accountability and keep people updated about work in real time.

He suggested preparing project profile of all districts based on the works carried out from the district level to village or ward level.

"This will help us and the districts understand where we stand and how we can take this forward and address the gaps," he said.

The Chief Minister directed district collectors to work on the initiatives, which will ensure there is no water scarcity in the coming summer through extensive drip and sprinkler irrigation.

He directed that beautification of tanks and fencing or creating lung space depending on purpose of water usage be taken up.

Naidu also suggested the irrigation department to prepare a project report to submit it to the (Central) Water Resources Ministry for special grant for drought-proofing the state.

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