Hyderabad, Oct 28 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today said the survey for the ambitious Pranahita-Chevalla project would be over in December and tenders would be called for the project early next year.
Reiterating that the ''Jalayagan'' was a key initative of his Government to pull out the peasants from the serious agrarian crisis, he told newspersons it would take another four years to complete this project.
Dr Reddy said his Government had ensured water for irrigating 13 lakh acres in the last two years compared to 11 lakh acres during the nine years of TDP rule.
Water would be ensured to 10,000 to 12,000 acres every year in the next three years, completing as many as 42 projects at a cost of over rs 50,000 crore against originally envisaged 26 projects, he added.
Taking a dig at the TDP for branding agriculture as a ''waste'', he said the Congress Government in the State and the UPA Government at the Centre was committed to make agriculture a profitable avocation.
The Chief Minister said though 70 per cent of the people in the country were dependent on agriculture, its contribution to economic growth was less than two per cent when the country was growing at a rate of eight per cent. The situation had to change, he added.
The Government would give prominence for drip or sprinkler irrigation systems for ensuring water to more farmers under Lift irrigation schemes and the cost of power would be entirely borne by the Government, he said. But the Government was thinking of recovering 20 to 30 per cent of the cost of maintenance of the systems from the farmers, he added.
During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit, he had impressed upon the former to ensure a remunerative price for farmers for their produce by reviewing the Minimum Support Price mechanism. With the help of the National Rural Employment Scheme, the State Government wanted to facilitate cultivation of bio fuel plants.
Dr Reddy urged the Centre to hike the purchase price of Pongamiya seeds to at least Rs 10 per kg from the present Rs six, as biodiesel was fetching Rs 25 per litre.
The country was looking at the INDIRAMMA, another major initiative of his Government which aimed at saturating the housing needs of the poor, ensuring pension for all elders and improving drinking water and sanitation facilities in schools and road for every village with a population of 1500 people, he added.
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