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AP seeks Centre's help to tackle drought

Our Bureau

The Central Government was requested to provide interim drought relief support of Rs 810 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund and about 15 lakh tonnes of rice to take up employment generation works in the State.

HYDERABAD, Nov. 11

EVEN as the kharif foodgrain and oil seed production in Andhra Pradesh is set to see a considerable fall this year due to inadequate monsoon impacting the agriculture sector, the Andhra Pradesh Government has stepped up efforts to ensure a good rabi crop and tide over the drought situation.

The State Government has initiated a series of measures including supply of fodder, drinking water and seeds for alternative crops. It has also stepped up efforts to provide employment through various initiatives including food-for-work programme.

The Railway Board has been requested to provide rakes to transport paddy straw from the coastal districts to the Rayalaseema districts. While the Union Government provided clearance up to October end, the State has requested for extension of this facility up to June 2003.

While tenders for procurement of paddy have been finalised, efforts are on to transport paddy-straw. However, procurement of paddy straw was temporarily halted due to heavy rain in the region.

The Central Government was requested to provide interim drought relief support of Rs 810 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund and about 15 lakh tonnes of rice to take up employment generation works in the State.

"However, by the time the Central team visited the State, we scaled up the request for support to Rs 1,210 crore and 25 lakh tonnes of rice," the State Minister for Revenue, Mr Ashok Gajapathi Raju, said.

The Government, which revived the drought situation and the administration's efforts to tackle the situation, recently declared another 89 mandals as drought affected, after excluding the mandals covered under the command area. As on today, 870 mandals have been declared as drought affected.

As against a total dry cropped area of 52.54 lakh hectares, about 43.84 lakh ha was cultivated during the kharif, thereby leaving a deficit of about 17 per cent.

The paddy coverage was 17.94 lakh ha, as against the normal 26.95 lakh ha, thereby reflecting a deficit of about 33 per cent.

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