Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Saturday claimed to be on a roller-coaster ride every since he took over the mantle a year ago. Faced with a flood of complaints from aqua farmers over the erratic power supply, he did some plain speaking over his ‘fortunes’ during an interaction with the farmers here as part of the ‘Indiramma Baata’ programme.
The State was suffering from a spate of separatist movements on the one side and the extreme weather conditions marked by acute drought and cyclones on the other, which all resulted in a huge financial loss to the State exchequer, he observed. “I am sparing no effort to steer the State out of the turbulent period”, he added. “I don’t know whether it was a good or bad omen that the State had witnessed heavy rains leading to floods on the third day of my swearing in as the Chief Minister,” he recalled.
V. Ramachandra Raju, president of the Delta Fish Farmers Association, said the aqua industry was in doldrums for want of power. The ice factories and processing plants were not able to function to their full capacity due to shortage of power. “Aqua units were receiving power for only three to four days in a week, said P. Mohan Raju, president of the Prawn Farmers Association He said the prawn growers were resorting to panic selling of the produce resulting in exploitation by middlemen in the absence of preservation facilities, he said. Mr. Mohan Raju appealed to the government to explore the possibilities for fixation of minimum support price for the aqua products as in the case of paddy to help growers overcome market fluctuations.
The Chief Minister requested the farmers to understand the ground realities pertaining to the power sector. The Centre had resorted to a steep cut in the share of the State in the gas-based power produced within the State from 75 to 22 per cent. The hydel generation dipped to a great extent because of the dwindling water levels, he said. “It will impose a great strain on the State finances if power is purchased at Rs 9.40 per unit,” Mr. Reddy said.