Noisy scenes in Council as Opposition alleges irregularities
HYDERABAD: The State government has suspended cloud-seeding operations being carried out since 2003-04, during 2010-11. The decision was taken by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.
This was announced by Minister for Agriculture N. Raghuveera Reddy during Question Hour in the Legislative Council here on Wednesday. The programme was only suspended for the year and not cancelled permanently, he told M. Venkata Siva Reddy and B. Narayana Rao (both TDP).
The House witnessed noisy scenes as Opposition members alleged irregularities in the programme and said even the year-wise expenditure details, copies of which were circulated to them, were misleading and false.
As against the expenditure of Rs. 83.74 crore shown for the last seven years in the reply, Rs. 120 crore was spent on the programme, the Minister explained. He admitted that figures were either wrongly printed or only released amounts were mentioned. Leader of the Opposition Dadi Veerabhadra Rao (TDP) observed that when the details given by the government itself were misleading there could be irregularities in the entire programme.
He suggested spending the amount on other useful measures for farmers, if there was no use with the programme.
Admitting that the State had no expertise in the subject, the Minister said it was research, development and operation process.
He claimed that enhancement in rainfall over normal was recorded during all seven years in the areas where cloud-seeding was done and substantiated the claims with the help of statistics.
The Minister, however, evaded a response to Mr. Veerabhadra Rao's demand for constituting a House Committee or any other body to inquire into the cloud-seeding programme.
Waiver of penalty
On the issue of waiver of penalty imposed on Gammon India, the contractors of the Panjagutta flyover, a portion of which collapsed during construction, Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development A. Ramnarayana Reddy told Y.V.B. Rajendra Prasad (TDP) that though the inquiry committee had recommended a penalty of Rs. 2.9 crore it could not be levied due to the terms and conditions in the agreement.