Appreciating Prime Minister's initiative “Team India" for smooth Centre-States' relations, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday emphasised on the need for unbiased cooperation and greater coordination.
KCR, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday to seek central assistance to tackle drought in Telangana State, is said to have asked, where was the promised national project and why was there a discrepancy in the allocation of funds or assistance to Telangana compared to Andhra Pradesh. “Should not Telangana have a national irrigation project on the lines of Polavaram, which was being completed so enthusiastically by the Centre-AP combine,"
KCR is said to have asked during the meeting with the Prime Minister and PMO officials held to evaluate the drought impact on Telangana. He reportedly emphasized on the necessity for give and take if the spirit behind the "Team India" concept was to be sustained. The Telangana Chief Minister did not let go off the opportunity in pressing his case for greater assistance and cooperation in making the State manoeuvre itself through the difficult phase at the meeting called for by the PMO.
PM Modi has been meeting the CMs of drought-affected States individually with his team along with the NITI Aayog officials for better assessment of the damage. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh were present at the meeting along with NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and his team members. KCR, accompanied by his top-rung officials, explained the Telangana drought situation and its impact on the people to PM Modi.
In what was termed as “a most comprehensive and detailed note" on the state of drought, the Chief Minister explained a number of initiatives of the State Government taken up to mitigate the impact on people despite paucity of funds. When it came to seeking funds, the CM minced no words in pointing out that the Centre had displayed greater love towards Andhra Pradesh in rendering assistance.
Citing the assistance given under the AP Reorganisation Act, KCR said that Rs 700 crore was given to AP in two installments for its seven districts whereas Telangana had been given only Rs 450 crore even though there were nine districts falling under the eligibility criteria. “Assistance was must for permanent measures like Mission Kakatiya from Rs 20,000 crore earmarked by the Centre as special fund for irrigation," KCR said.
Urging the Centre to be generous in coming to the rescue of the State, KCR reminded the PM that a memorandum had already been submitted to the Centre seeking an assistance of Rs 3,064.75 crore towards input subsidy, drinking water, fodder and wage employment creation.
Seeking full assistance as sought (Rs 3,064.75 crore) to tackle drought, the CM said that so far only Rs 791.21 crore was approved out of which, Rs 712.62 crore released. In all 231 mandals in seven districts comprising 5,519 villages and 12,680 habitations had been drought hit affecting 1.7 crore population, he said.
Drawing the attention of Agriculture Minister, Rao said crops in 13.52 lakh hectares had been totally damaged (cotton in 6.5 lakh hectares, maize in 2.67 lakh hectares and soyabean in 1.03 lakh hectares) and an extent of 23,700 hectares of horticulture crops had also been affected.
Diversification of cropping pattern was on the way and to reduce debt burden of farmers, the government was implementing a farm loan waiver programme to the extent of Rs 17,000 crore giving relief to 36 lakh farmers and two installments of Rs 8,080 crore had already into farmers' accounts. The third installment of Rs 4,040 crore would be shortly released.
The deficit of fodder was to the tune of 5.58 lakh MTs, he said explaining the measures taken to tackle it. Telangana government had sought Rs 75.90 crore for fodder requirement, but it was not released, he pointed out. The TRS government plans to continue its pressure on the Centre with its MP K Kavitha scheduled to meet Union Ministers along with over 50 MLAs on Wednesday.