Ponnala refutes allegations by Chiranjeevi

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Hyderabad, Nov 9 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah today refuted allegations of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) founder-President Chiranjeevi on irrigation projects taken up by the state government.

Addressing a press conferecne here, he said Mr Chiranjeevi, during his recent 'Praja Ankita Yatra' in Telangana Districts had made false allegations on the projects without any knowledge about them.

He challenged Mr Chiranjeevi for an open discussion on the projects and sent a detailed letter for him to know the facts.

He said he had furnished all the details in the letter on the projects taken up in the last four and half years, region wise and district wise.

Alleging that acting in films and running a government in real life were different, he said Mr Chiranjeevi was making allegations against the government and the projects only to mislead the people to come to power.

He said the state government had taken up 75 projects with the aim of creating an irrigation potential of 1.07 crore acres of land and to utilise 1250 TMC water through these projects.

He said during the last four and a half years, 12 projects were completed providing irrigation potential for 18 lakh acres. By 2009 March, an additional irrigation potential would be created for 12 lakh acres.

He said for transparancy, the state government had conducted open discussions with experts, political leaders and environmentalists on 42 projects at 38 places.

Stating that the govenrment had given priority to agriculture, he said the growth rate in the state's agricultural sector during 2007-08 had jumped to 12 per cent, compared to Centre's 11th plan target of four per cent. Food production in the state was 199 lakh tonnes during 2008-09.

He said Andhra Pradesh would occupy number one position in the country in food production under the 'jalayagnam' scheme.

UNI BR PD KP1601

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