AP facing acute water scarcity, hit by 48.3 pc deficit rainfall: CM

Amaravati: Throwing light on the acute water scarcity being faced by Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy yesterday said due to 48.3 per cent deficit rainfall during the ongoing Kharif season, agricultural operations in the State is in jeopardy. As against the normal rainfall of 135.5 mm from 1 June till now, the State received only 70.1 mm. However, he assured that his government was committed to farmers welfare and was taking all steps to mitigate the drought conditions.

He made the statement in the assembly on the first day of the Budget session. Listing out various measures regarding the current crisis, he announced a grant of Rs 1 crore from the Chief Ministers Development Fund to each assembly constituency to solve drinking water shortage.

He further said apart from the YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme – Rs 12,500 input grant will be given to each farmer – a Rs 2,000 crore Natural Calamity Relief Fund to serve farmers in times of distress was being set up. As against the normal rainfall of 135.5 mm from June 1 till now, the state received only 70.1 mm, marking a deficit of 48.3 per cent.

The CM pointed out that while various crops are grown in 42 lakh hectares during Kharif, sowings were taken up in only 3.82 lakh hectares so far this season, he said. Normally, sowings would have been completed at least in 9.15 lakh ha by now. This year, sowings are delayed due to scanty rainfall and lack of water.

Accusing the previous TDP government led by Naidu, Jagan said worst drought was witnessed in 2018-19 and farmers were left in agony. The then government sought Rs 1838 crore from the Centre for drought relief. The Centre released Rs 900 crore towards input subsidy for farmers but the Chandrababu Naidu government did not give even a single rupee to the hapless farmers who lost their crops, Jagan alleged.

Rs 960 crore was also not given to farmers on the paddy procured from them last year, TDP’s promise of farm loan waiver was not honoured. Though it cut down the total outstanding to just Rs 24,500 crore, only about Rs 15,000 crore was cleared to banks in five years. Because of this the zero-interest loan scheme for farmers was scrapped and farm loan dues now stood at Rs 1,49,224 crore, accused Jagan.

The chief minister said his government was re-introducing the zero-interest loan scheme besides paying crop insurance premium on behalf of farmers. Also, the AP government would pay Rs 2,164 crore as insurance premium for over 55 lakh farmers. Rs 360 crore have been released to clear payment dues to paddy farmers and Rs 384 crore towards seeds had also been released by the YSRC government. Rs 2,000 crore would be paid as input subsidy to farmers, which the previous government owed last year, added the Chief Minister.