Telangana lawmakers turn into 'progressive farmers' for Israel junket

Govt order does not mention them as MLAs but tags them as ‘progressive farmers’

Hyderabad: Telangana government has decided to send an eight-member team, including four MLAs of the ruling TRS with a tag of "progressive farmers", to attend an agriculture exhibition and field trips in Israel.

The decision has kicked up a row with the Opposition BJP questioning the move.

Besides these MLAs, according to a Government Order (GO), the team comprises V Praveen Rao, Registrar and Special Officer at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), L Venkatram Reddy, In-charge Commissioner of Horticulture Department, G Mohan Reddy, PS to Agriculture Minister and P Bhaskar Reddy, progressive farmer-cum-Chairman of PACS (Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society).

The GO issued on Monday said the Government has given them nod to visit Israel for attending "19th International Agriculture Exhibition “Agritech 2015” in Tel Aviv from April 27 to 30, and also for visits to orchards green houses and open cultivation plots up to 4-5-2015".

The order does not mention Eanugu Ravinder Reddy, Kalvakuntla Vidyasagar Rao, Gangula Kamalakar and Dasari Manohar Reddy as MLAs but tags them as "progressive farmers".

Meanwhile, the Opposition BJP attacked the TRS government over the move.

"Four TRS MLAs cleared for a trip to Israel as 'progressive farmers' by TRS Government. We want to know if Chief Minister KCR (K Chandrasekhar Rao) has not found any progressive farmers in entire Telangana for this state-sponsored trip?" asked Krishna Saagar Rao, spokesperson of Telangana BJP.

A separate GO issued on Tuesday said Agriculture Minister P Srinivas Reddy would participate in the international event. The Agriculture & Cooperation Department has proposed for participation of Reddy in the Tel Aviv exhibition, it said.

The Minister is accorded permission for participating in the event, pending receipt of "political clearance" from the External Affairs Ministry, it said.

Telangana is among the states worst hit by crop damage.

The recent unseasonal rains have dealt a double whammy to farmers. Before they could recover from the losses to their Kharif crop due to drought and power cuts, the recent rains damaged Rabi crops in 860 villages spread over 103 mandals in nine districts of the state.

Heavy rains and hailstorms have damaged crops in over 75,000 hectares in the nine districts as per the preliminary estimates prepared by the government.

Nalgonda district remained the worst affected with heavy damage caused to crops in 287 villages in 34 mandals, followed by Karimnagar with 286 villages in 17 mandals. Paddy was the worst hit with crops in 26,632 hectares damaged due to the rains.

( Source : dc/pti )
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