AP Govt accedes to WUAs' major demand

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Hyderabad, June 17 (UNI) Conceding the major demand of Water Users Associations (WUAs), the Andhra Pradesh Government today empowered them to collect service charges at the local level and the money for ensuring effective management of irrigation systems.

Reviewing the functioning of irrigation systems, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy also decided to plough back 20 per cent of the amount going to the government, to farmers organisations for effective water management.

Henceforth, farmers need not make any contribution for weed removal, Irrigation Minister P Lakshmaiah told reporters after the review meeting.

The Chief Engineer and Engineers concerned were directed to complete this work within fortnight, he added.

For the first time in the country, elections to 10,800 WUAs, 323 Distributory Committeds were completed and 23 project committee polls would be held on July 18, he said.

For the first time, the government provided Rs 69 crore tax replough for carrying out operation and maintenance works through the elected bodies. An additional Rs 300 crore had been provided for minimum restoration of all irrigation systems.

It was decided the Principal Secretary would work out new command area structure for each project in a decentralised manner.

Professional management structure would be created for major irrigation projects for efficient use of water by involving farmers.

So far Rs 30,000 crore had been spent in the last four years on the projects under the irrigation initiative, he claimed.

UNI SM GM RL KN2053

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