ANDHRA PRADESH

`Treat drought as natural calamity'

HYDERABAD, MARCH 17. The debate on drought continued for the second day in the Assembly on Thursday with an impassioned appeal by members to treat the dry conditions as natural calamity and pump in funds accordingly.

M. Satyanarayana Reddy of the TRS set the debate rolling with his short poem capturing oppressive conditions in Telangana and his demand that drought be declared as natural calamity. In doing this, three factors should be taken into account-- farmers' suicides/ starvation deaths, migration and cattle being herded into slaughterhouses, he said.

The Congress member, Shelja Kumar, too wanted that drought be recognised as a natural calamity. Pathuri Ramaiah (CPI-M) wanted all out steps for the benefit of farm labour as well as small and marginal farmers. All-party panels could be formed to see that work was ensured for all without the use of machinery.

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