Staff Reporter

State will remove the shadow of drought from the perennially drought-hit district, says Chief Minister

10 ttmcft allocation for PABRRs. 250 crores for canal modernisationRs. 150 crores for dairy developmentRaghuveera leads a team to meet YSR

HYDERABAD: Allocation of 10 tmcft of water for Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir (PABR), an estimated Rs. 250 crores of modernisation works for Tungabhadra High-Level Canal and other irrigation systems and a Rs. 150-crore dairy development programme were among boons announced by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy for Anantapur district.

He made the announcements when a delegation of public representatives from the district led by Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy called on him at his residence here on Thursday. "We are doing everything to permanently remove the shadow of drought from the perennially drought-hit district", he said.

In a district which receives just 519 mm of rainfall annually, second lowest only after Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, the allocation means a lot, for apart from taking care of irrigation needs, it promises to wet parched throats by catering to the Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project. Among others who were part of the delegation were Panchayat Raj Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy, Anantapur MP Anantha Venkata Rami Reddy, Gooty MLA Neelavathi and former MLAs P. Venugopal Reddy and Y. Sivarami Reddy. The incharge Minister G. Surya Rao (Animal Husbandry) was also present.

The Chief Minister spoke of how the much-talked-about Handri Neeva Srujala Sravanthi Project was also being taken forward. Under Phase One, it was contemplated to bring 3.5 lakh acres under the plough at an estimate of Rs. 1,200 crores. Phase Two would be shortly announced, he said. Dr. Reddy announced that `Kanuga' plantation would be taken in one lakh acres with a view to bring parched lands to use and giving farmers some solace.

In four years, farmers would start earning Rs. 4,000 from each acre, a sum that would go upto Rs. 10,000 in a few years time, he said.