The Andhra Pradesh government Friday appealed to the Centre to immediately release Rs 1401.54 crore as financial assistance for drought mitigation measures in the state.
As many as 347 mandals spread over nine districts have been declared drought-hit because of 34.8 per cent deficit in rainfall during the Kharif season, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu told a central delegation during a meeting at the state Secretariat.
The Rabi crop season too experienced a 55 per cent rainfall deficiency even as the state was hit by drought for the seventh year in a row, the chief minister told the inter-ministerial team that came to study the drought situation.
The ten-member team, led by Neeraja Adidan, joint secretary in the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, toured Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore, Prakasam, Kadapa, Chittoor, Kurnool and Anantapuramu districts and inspected crops damaged due to drought.
A CMO release said the chief minister informed the team that crops in 13.60 lakh acres were damaged due to drought in the Kharif season.
Over 16.52 lakh small and marginal farmers were badly affected by this, he added.
Of the total Rs 1401.54 crore central assistance sought by the state, Rs 979.83 crore was towards agricultural input subsidy, Rs 124.58 crore for rural water supply and sanitation, Rs 133.21 crore for urban water supply, Rs 162 crore for animal husbandry department and Rs 1.85 crore for horticulture.
“Andhra Pradesh needs to be treated as special state because, on the one hand, it faces drought and, on the other, cyclones. No other state in the country is as affected by the vagaries of nature as AP,” Naidu told the team.
Farmers were getting demoralized as they were suffering heavy losses. The Centre should relax norms and extend financial assistance to mitigate the farmers woes, the release quoted the chief minister as saying
He explained the various water management practices, like use of rain guns, farm ponds, drip and micro irrigation and interlinking of rivers, introduced by his government to overcome drought in the state.
The team said it would submit its report to the Centre in a week.
Earlier, the delegation held discussions with state chief secretary Anil Chandra Punetha on the drought situation.