Telangana optimistic of turning drought-free, says minister

TRS policies will counter 2 successive dry years: Pocharam.

Hyderabad: Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday that the state government was confident of turning TS into a drought-free state in three years by redesigning some irrigation projects, taking up new ones, completing pending projects besides initiatives like Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagiratha.

Speaking on severe drought conditions prevailing in the state for the last two years, Mr Srinivas Reddy said that the state has recorded deficit rainfall of 14 per cent during kharif season.

Of the sown area of 47 lakh hectares in TS in kharif 2015-16, crops to an extent of about 13.59 lakh hectares have withered due to drought conditions.
He told the House that the Centre has so far failed to release the promised drought aid.

“Mission Bhagiratha will ensure uninterrupted drinking water to each and every household within two years. That will be the permanent solution to the drinking water problem in the state. Rejuvenation of 45,000 lakes under Mission Kakatiya will revive the minor irrigation sector, which was once the lifeline of Telangana agriculture, and recharge groundwater levels. The redesigning of irrigation projects would bring more agricultural land under cultivation. All these measures would result in bringing one crore acres in TS state and make it a drought-free state in three years,” Mr Srinivas Reddy said.

He said that three prolonged dry spells in July and August 2015 after good rains in June led to farmers suffering huge losses.

“Due to good rains in June, farmers sowed crops in 98 per cent of the cultivable area in the same month. This was the highest crop sown area in recent times. But there were prolonged dry spells for the next two months due to which the crops dried up,” the minister said.

He denied any political interference in declaring drought-hit mandals. “A total of 231 mandals were declared drought-hit as per the parameters set by the Centre. If we go against Centre’s guidelines and declare drought-hit mandals on political grounds, it would serve no purpose as the Centre will not grant drought aid,” Mr Srinivas Reddy said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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