Correspondent

Performs `bhoomi pooja' for Koilsagar project

The two districts in the State are among the 15 selected in the country The lift scheme is aimed at irrigating some 52,000 acres 7-hour power supply to be ensured to the farm sector

Mahabubnagar: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy announced amidst applause from the audience that Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda districts would be developed holistically under the new scheme, Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas (PURA).

He was addressing a public meeting at Devarkadra as part of the Praja Patham on Thursday evening.

The Chief Minister said that the two districts in Andhra Pradesh were among the 15 selected in the country for implementation of PURA.

Earlier, he performed `bhoomi pooja' for construction of Koilsagar lift irrigation project taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 359 crores to irrigate some 52,000 acres, including existing ayacut of 12,000 acres.

Under the project, 3.90 tmc of water would be drawn from the backwaters of the Jurala project to fill the Koilsagar reservoir.

Over 72 villages would be benefited by the project in Amarchintha Assembly constituency.

Pending projects

The Chief Minister said that over Rs. 1,000 crores was spent in the last two years in the district for construction of four pending irrigation projects, and added that Rs. 1,200 crores would be spent in the current financial year.

He reiterated that the four projects - Kalwakurthy, Bheema, Nettampadu and Koilsagar - would be completed within the stipulated time.

Mr. Reddy said that pension to old people, physically challenged and widows would be enhanced to Rs. 200 from Rs. 100 from this year.

He said that the Government was purchasing power from other States by spending Rs. 5 crores to Rs. 7 crores daily in order to save rabi crop.

"Come what may, we will supply power for seven hours to the farm sector and we will see that not a single crop dried up," he said.

Loans for SHGs

The chief Minister said that women self-help groups in the districts would be provided loans to the tune of Rs. 200 crores in the current financial year for only 25 paisa interest.

Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Laxmaiah, Minister for Employment and district in-charge G. Vinod, MP from Mahabubnagar D. Vittal Rao also spoke while local MLA Swarna Sudhakar Reddy presided.