Special Correspondent

Projected figure for rabi is 35 lakh tonnes less than 2008-09

Seven-hour free power for agriculture sector: Raghuveera Reddy

All the 2.5 lakh agriculture services damaged in floods restored

HYDERABAD: The government has finalised rabi action plan envisaging a sown area of 45 lakh hectares which will be eight lakh hectares higher than the season’s normal, but less than last year.

An extent of 20 lakh hectares will be provided irrigation during the season. However, it has been decided to provide water to only one lakh out of four lakh hectares of normal area in the Godavari delta as the water available in the Dowleswaram Barrage near Rajahumundry is inadequate. Out of 34 tmcft of water available, a part of it has to be supplied for Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. Modernisation works will be undertaken in the rest of the delta area which has been marked for crop holiday.

The rabi plan envisages foodgrain production of 97 lakh tonnes. This, coupled with the kharif production of 68 lakh tonnes (normal 97 lakh tonnes) is expected to take the total output during 2009-10 to 165 lakh tonnes. This will be 35 lakh tonnes less than in 2008-09 (205 lakh tonnes) when there was a bumper crop.

Speaking to reporters after Chief Minister K. Rosaiah approved the action plan here on Saturday, Minister for Agriculture N. Raghuveera Reddy and Minister for Major Irrigation Ponnala Lakshmaiah said only 64 lakh hectares could be sown during kharif compared to the season’s normal of 79 lakh hectares.

Mr. Reddy said free power would be supplied for seven hours for the agriculture sector, now but this would be qualitative and reliable. Almost all the 2.5 lakh agriculture services damaged during the floods had been restored.

Rural Development Minister V. Vasanth Kumar said the sand-cast lands in flood-hit areas would be reclaimed by spending an amount of Rs 30 crore available under NREGS and Calamities Relief Fund. So far, 18,000 farmers had been identified as beneficiaries.