New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Home Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday said the government had responded immediately to the demands concerning farmers affected by unprecedented rains in Andhra Pradesh last year and sanctioned relief.
The minister said in the Rajya Sabha that the government had taken several steps, including lifting restrictions on the movement of foodgrains.
He was responding to a calling attention motion raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on the “situation arising from unprecedented and untimely heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh”.
Chidambaram said the Andhra Pradesh government submitted three memoranda for additional financial assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for damages caused due to floods, cyclone and heavy rains, which also included damage to the agriculture sector.
Based on the first two memoranda submitted by the state government, the central government approved Rs.264.54 crore and Rs.172.23 crore in February this year.
He said a central team had visited the state Feb 7-10 following the third memorandum submitted by the government and its report was under consideration of the government.
“In pursuance of the prime minister’s announcement, an amount of Rs.400 crore was released on Dec 29 towards relief. In addition, the central share of state disaster response fund amounting to Rs.381.63 crore was released in two instalments on June 3 and Nov 16, 2010.”
The minister said Rs.207.33 crore had been released in March this year from NDRF for additional employment beyond 100 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
On the issue of lifting restriction on movement of foodgrains, he said the commerce ministry had allowed export of 100,000 tonnes of sona masuri variety of rice. The state government, Chidambaram added, had informed that there was no ban on inter-state movement of BPT rice from Andhra Pradesh to other states.
In its memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in December last year on the problems faced by farmers in Andhra Pradesh due to heavy rains, the BJP had demanded that export of sona masuri rice be allowed since huge stocks were lying with farmers for want of remunerative price.
The party had said that farmers in 15 districts had suffered extensive damage due to heavy rains.