Andhra Pradesh chief minister promises to prevent food crisis

August 15th, 2008 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Aug 15 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Friday assured people that he would prevent any food crisis in the state by continuing his focus on agriculture and irrigation. Making his last Independence Day speech before next year’s elections, the chief minister promised to turn Andhra Pradesh into ‘Annapoorna’ (Hindu goddess looked upon as the provider of food and the sustainer).

Claiming that he had fulfilled all the promises made in 2004 elections in the last four years, the chief minister hoped that he would again get people’s support to continue the work for overall development of the state, especially rural areas, and the welfare of poor and the backward classes.

The chief minister delivered the speech after unfurling the national flag at the main official function at Parade Grounds here.

Defending his move to accord top priority to agriculture and welfare of farmers, he said this was essential to ensure food security.

“In the next 20 to 30 years the world will witness serious food shortage. The United Nations general secretary has already warned of global food crisis. We can prevent such a crisis in this state by continuing our focus on agriculture to further improve the productivity,” he said.

Pointing out that the food grain production in the state increased from 13.5 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 19.7 million tonnes last year, he said the state could become ‘Annapoorna’.

YSR, as the chief minister is popularly known, said his government embarked on ambitious ‘Jalayagnam’ programme to complete all irrigation projects to bring an additional 10 million acres of land under irrigation.

He claimed that 1.5 million acres of land were already brought under cultivation and another 1.7 million acres would be irrigated by March next year.

Referring to the serious crisis plaguing agriculture before Congress party came to power in 2004, he said his government’s goal was to “wipe out tears of every distressed farmer and poor”.

Listing out the steps taken during last four years, YSR said the government provided free electricity to farmers, waived their electricity arrears and crop loans, provided ‘pavala vaddi’ loans (loans at 25 paise interest), free fertilisers, seeds at subsidised rate and also made efforts to increase minimum support price for agriculture produce.

Claiming that the state achieved all-round progress during last four years, he said his government was a government of the poor and the common man. “We have done a lot but I know there is still much to be done,” he said.

YSR pointed out that the state recorded highest growth rate in the country and was in the forefront in attracting industrial investments.

He listed the steps taken to ensure development of villages on par with urban areas, provide houses to every houseless, jobs to the unemployed through various schemes, free treatment of poor in corporate hospitals under Rajiv Arogyasri health insurance scheme, Rs.2-a-kg rice and other essential items at subsidised rate.

Claiming that his government took information technology beyond Hyderabad, he said several steps were taken for development of skills in rural areas by opening new universities and colleges.

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