Rain toll mounts to 20 ; heavy loss of agricultural crops

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Hyderabad, Mar 26 (UNI) As many as 20 people were killed in heavy rains, caused under the influence of a trough of low pressure, which left a trail of destruction in 18 districts on March 22 and 23, Andhra Pradesh Revenue Minister D Prasada Rao informed the State Assembly today.

Making a statement in the Assembly, the minister said, Kurnool district accounted for a maximum of six deaths, followed by Prakasam, and Khammam with four deaths each, West Godavari three, Mahboobnagar two and Hyderabad one.

As many as 206 heads of livestock were lost in the districts of Warangal (143), Karimnagar(28), Khammam(20), Mahaboobnagar (13) and West Godavari (two), he added.

Announcing special assistance to farmers for various crops loss, Mr Rao said the Government would ensure purchase of discoloured paddy by the Food Corporation of India, discoloured chillies and turmeric through the Markfed and Spice Board, jowar, maize, blackgram and bengalgram through the Markfed, and groundnut through the OILFED.

As the opposition expressed dissatisfaction over the package, the minister maintained that no government anywhere in the world could fully compensate those affected by natural calamities. While the opposition was resorting to mudslinging, the farmers had received well the special package announced by the Government in February, he maintained.

Unlike the previous Telugu Desam Party(TDP) Government, the present government was constantly striving for the farmers' welfare and instilling confidence in them, Mr Rao said, while referring to implementation of the Free Power Scheme continuously for four years, dispelling doubts expressed by the TDP over its feasibility.

As per preliminary enumeration report of the Agriculture Department; paddy, maize, sunflower, greengram, jowar, tobacco, groundnut and bengalgram in 51,538 hectares and horticultural crops in 9693 hectare were damaged, he said, adding 1091 houses were also damaged.

About 74,750.60 tonnes of harvested chillies got discoloured in the districts of Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam, Khammam, Kurnool and Kadapa and about 5600 tonnes of turmeric affected in Nizamabad district.

A special assistance at the rate of Rs 4500 per hectare would be provided for paddy, groundnut, chillies and vegetable crops lost, while Rs 3750 would be given for pulses, sunflower and maize, he added.


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