Chief Minister K. Rosaiah has said it is only the Congress that can truly be termed a farmer-friendly government and recalled the ambitious strides made in the farm and other-related sectors under the leadership of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy from 2004. He recalled that the first file signed by Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy soon after assuming office was the one relating to free power supply to farmers.

A function held here on Friday to give away ‘Rythu Puraskars’ to farmers, officials and scientists here on Friday, the Chief Minister was full of memories about YSR’s programmes and his passion to do the best for agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, irrigation and power sectors. Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy presided. Minister for Sugar D.K. Aruna said it was sad that the acreage under sugarcane and productivity were declining and that concerted efforts were required to increase the extent and yield of sugarcane to reduce import of sugar. Mr. Rosaiah, Mr. Raghuveera Reddy and other Ministers, including Ponnala Lakshmaiah (Major Irrigation) and Jupally Krishna Rao (Civil Supplies), gave the ‘Rythu Puraskars’ to 41 farmers and 42 officials, scientists and bank officials.

Mild flutter

Earlier, there was a mild flutter when farmers from Medak district raised slogans and displayed banners demanding assistance to the families of those who had committed suicide. When they alleged that officials were rejecting cases under some pretext or other, Mr. Rosaiah promised to look into the matter.

The Chief Minister received a cheque for over Rs. 801 crore towards crop insurance claims of 7.58 lakh farmers, who were beneficiaries of the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme for the 2008 kharif.

The Chief Regional Manager of Agricultural Insurance Company of India handed over the cheque in the presence of Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy. A press release from the Chief Minister’s office said the amount was ‘all-time high’ and a ‘record in the country by any State’.