Hyderabad: The Chief Minister, Mr K Kiran Kumar Reddy, on Wednesday assured that he would lead all-party delegation to New Delhi to impress upon the Centre for declaration of heavy rains in December last as a ‘national calamity’, if required. He also made it clear that his government has no need to learn from any one on the issues of the farmers.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr N Manohar, who was in the chair, converted the two questions on marketing facility and purchase of damaged paddy as short discussion following the request of the Opposition members.
During the discussion on the issue, heated exchanges took place between the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Nara Chandrababu Naidu, in the House. Countering the concern expressed by Mr Naidu on the fate of the farmers who suffered losses in heavy rainfall in December and other cyclones, the Chief Minister pooh-poohed that lot of good could be done to the farmers if Mr Naidu has 10 per cent of his present concern during his nine-year rule. He also reiterated that his government was pro-farmer and would take up all necessary steps for the welfare of the tillers in the State.
Indirectly referring to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy said, “We should respect the verdict of the people. Otherwise, we will continue in the same position. The people of the State did not believe the TDP promises – cash transfer, continuation of free power to farmers and others in the 2009 elections.
The Chief Minister said that the Central teams have visited the State four times to assess the damage done due to series of calamities in the State. The State has received Rs 862-crore aid from the Centre and another Rs 2,000 crores are yet to be released by the Centre. Out of total estimated Rs 3,026 crores of crop damage, Rs 2,164 crores have been already sanctioned by the State.
“I met the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, twice and requested him to declare heavy rains faced by the State as National Calamity. I am confident that the Centre would declare the heavy rains as national calamity, but it takes time as the Centre was studying the matter”, the Chief Minister maintained.
Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy made it clear that the payment of compensation to the farmers whose crops damaged due to heavy rains in December, would take some time as they would be cleared after getting funds from the Centre. He also outright rejected the demand of the Opposition members that the government should pay Rs 200 bonus per acre for paddy on par with the neighboring States. He reminded that the bonus was meant to encourage expansion of crop area, but paddy production was 220 lakh tones in the State. Moreover, the government was not in a financial position to extend bonus, he added.
The Chief Minister also exuded confidence that the Centre would implement the recommendation of the Chief Ministers headed by Mr Huda for Rs 25,000 input-subsidy per hectare. The State government has requested the Centre for permission to export 15 lakh tones of raw BPT rice and 15 lakh tones of boiled rice, but the Group of Ministers headed by Mr Pranab Mukharjee has permitted export of only one lakh tones of rice. The Centre expressed concern that the export of food grains would lead to skyrocketing of prices in domestic market, he added.
Reminding that the Modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) was being implemented in Warangal, Nellore and Prakasam districts as a pilot project, the Chief Minister announced that the MNAIS would be implemented in all the districts by the end of this year.
Stating that the Tenant Farmers Bill would come to the House during the current budget session, he appealed to the Opposition parties to cooperate with the government for its passage. The State government also requested the Centre to correlate NREGP with the farmers and agricultural works. (NSS)