Special Correspondent

Admits to minor problems; makes light of Naidu terming aid insufficient

  • It will be a surprise if he doesn't criticise, says YSR
  • Boats used only for rescue operations
  • 25 p.c more compensation than last year to farmers

    HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy said here on Tuesday rescue and relief operations were in full swing and effective in flood-affected areas of Khammam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts, "though with problems here and there".

    Referring to Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu's terming the operations as "insufficient", Dr. Reddy said, "it will be a surprise if he doesn't criticise".

    On the dharna staged by some villagers at Bhadrachalam, the Chief Minister said they were demanding allotment of a separate boat to carry them back to their villages at a time when boats and helicopters were used only for rescue operations. They had come to Bhadrachalam on personal work before the floods and remained there when the floods occurred. He said the Khammam Collector had rejected the demand because the priority now was to use the boats to save people caught in the floodwaters.

    `All possible help'

    Nizamabad Staff Reporter writes: Dr. Reddy has promised all possible help from the Government side to farmers who incurred heavy crop damage and those who lost everything in the floods.

    Briefing the media, he said farmers would be extended 25 per cent more compensation than what was given last year and a seed subsidy of 33 per cent.

    On construction of houses for those rendered homeless, he said new houses would be sanctioned to all the eligible persons under whichever scheme possible. He asked the authorities to see that new houses were constructed at safer places.

    District Collector I. S. Sri Naresh earlier explained to the Chief Minister that 14,727 houses suffered damage and of them 2,870 were fully destroyed. The Joint Director (Agri) said crop was damaged in about 9,000 hectares. They informed Dr. Reddy that the total estimated damage could be around Rs. 10 crores in the district.

    When Minister for Rural Development D. Srinivas proposed the sanction of houses under the Indira Awas Yojana, the Chief Minister replied, "Let us approach the Centre first. If we do not get funds from there, we will sanction them under different schemes". He also sought proposals for permanent restoration of road and bridge works.

    Refuting the charge that relief and succour being extended were tardy as against the extent of heavy damage, he said, "It has become a habit for them (Opposition) to see everything with a negative bent of mind. In fact, the official machinery had done an excellent job to rescue the flood victims. Officials had no sleep for the last five days and were actively involved in relief operations". Critical comments against the officials would demoralise them, Dr. Reddy added.

    Assembly Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy, Ministers D. Srinivas and Mohammad Ali Shabbir, MLAs S. Ganga Ram and B. Sudarshan Reddy and senior officials were present.