Jagan govt launches scheme to drill borewells free of cost for farmers
The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday launched yet another welfare scheme of sinking agriculture borewells for small and marginal farmers belonging to arid and upland areas of the state free of cost.
Named as YSR Jala Kala, more than three lakh borewells would be drilled at a cost of Rs 2,340 crore in 144 rural assembly constituencies and 19 semi-urban assembly in a span of four years.
“The scheme would benefit around two lakh farmers and bring an additional five lakh acres into cultivation,” chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said, after launching the scheme through video conferencing from his camp office at Tadepalli.
He said the drilling of borewells would be on the basis of the feasibility report given after the hydro-geological and geo-physical surveys. The farmers can also avail a second chance, in case of a failure to draw water in the first attempt.
“All the eligible farmers can avail of this initiative by applying either online or through the village secretariats and the status of their application can be monitored at every stage,” Jagan said.
He said all these borewells would also be provided with motors free of cost. This would cause an additional burden of Rs 1,600 crore on the state exchequer.
Referring to the recent decision of the state government of installing meters for all agricultural power connections in the state, the chief minister said the meters would cause no burden on the farmers.
“They are meant only for collecting data on the actual consumption of power and measure the load on feeders. It will help the government bring in transparency into the system. The amount billed for the power consumed by the farmers would be transferred into their bank accounts directly and they could, in turn, pay the same to power distribution companies,” he said.
Jagan said in order to sustain the free agriculture power supply scheme for at least another 30 years, a 10,000 MW solar energy plan was coming up in the private sector. “The free farm power supply scheme was launched by my father late YS Rajasekhara Reddy and it would be continued forever,” he said.
Describing his government as farmer-friendly, Jagan said the government had already introduced Rythu Bharosa Kendras to facilitate farmers with seeds, fertilisers, and also being developed as warehouses and crop procurement centres. The government is also providing Rs 13,500 every year for farmers under Rythu Bharosa, he said.
Panchayat raj minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, minister for roads and buildings M Sankara Narayana, district collectors and representatives of farmers took part in the programme.
Opposition Telugu Desam Party described YSR Jala Kala scheme as bogus and a fraud being played on the farmers by the Jagan government. “The government is already cheating the farmers in the name of installation of meters to agriculture pump sets which is only a plan to deprive them of free power supply,” senior TDP leader and former minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said.
He alleged that the installation of meters for farm power connections would cause an additional burden of over Rs 4,000 crore on tax payers and now, the government wants to spend another Rs 2,340 crore in the name of drilling new borewells.