Hyderabad, Nov 15 (UNI) Telugu Desam Party staged a walkout in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today in protest against the ruling Congress turning the ''Jalayagnam''(Irrigation initiative) into ''Dhanayagnam''(avenue for minting money).
Telangana Rashtra Samiti members led by former minister Nayini Narasimha Reddy also staged a walkout in protest against alleged neglect of irrigation projects in the Telangana region Dissatisfied with Irrigation Minister P Lakshmaiah's reply to a question from N Janardhan Reddy and other TDP members on the irrigation projects, leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu led his party colleagues out alleging that the extent of land under irrigation had come down by one lakh hectares during the Congress regime and foodgrains production had fallen by 4.1 per cent and oilseeds by 15.65 per cent than the production in 2001-02 when the TDP was in power.
Denying Mr Naidu's charge, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said it was unfortunate that Mr Naidu, who had called farming a ''sheer waste'', was upset when the state witnessed very good rains in the last three years as against severe drought during the TDP rule. The projects completed by the Congress government are there to be seen. The TDP's attempt is like hiding the Sun''.
Comparing the agricultural production in the last three years of TDP rule and first three years of Congress regime, Dr Reddy said 119 lakh tonnes of rice, 12 lakh tonnes of pulses and 16 lakh tonnes of oilseeds were produced on an average during the TDP regime as against 142 lakh tonnes of rice, 12.50 lakhs of pulses and 18.50 lakh tonnes of oilseeds during the Congress regime.
Earlier, Mr Lakshmaiah said 11 projects were completed during the last four years and irrigation potential was created so far for 11 lakh acres. Water was released to 10.31 lakh acres as per the water availability. The government, believing in transparency had provided project-wise details on the Internet, he added.
Visiting Warangal, Mr Naidu, who had not not even spent Rs 1000 crore for irrigation in nine years, had twisted facts by showing those pipes rejected by officials to claim that the quality of irrigation projects were substandard, he added.