The agriculture minister’s facile explanation that the Congress government has not faced a drought in the past eight years is as shocking as the government not having an emergency plan
Waking up late to the grim reality of a debilitating drought staring at the State, the Kiran government is hurriedly forming a plan in case rains fail by another fortnight.
Shockingly, the government does not have a contingency plan to deal with natural calamities like drought, flood, earthquake or storm.
This is evident in the State government’s annual budget for agriculture department during the ongoing financial year (2012-13). There is no specific allocation for a contingency plan to deal with drought situation during the ongoing monsoon season.
In fact, agriculture minister of the State Kanna Lakshminarayana who talked with Postnoon yesterday on phone admitted to have no specific plans for a drought.
“We don’t have any specific budget for a contingency plan to deal with the drought. But if the need really arises, we will definitely bring in money to rescue the farmers by providing them necessary help,” Lakshminarayana said.
He said metrological pundits say we should wait for another fortnight when the monsoon may revive before declaring it a drought. However, why the government does not have a standing plan for such eventualities is not answered.
Meanwhile, spurred on by the Opposition TDP, farmers are raising a banner of revolt in many parts of the State against the governmental apathy toward agriculture and looming drought.
“This government does not have the heart to share the agony of farmers. Recently, it held emergency meetings to finalise the liquor policy and allot licenses by forming committees of group of ministers. Why can’t it show the same kind of urgency towards farmers’ problems also when the dangerous drought is round the corner,” Senior TDP Leader Dr Kodela Sivaprasad told Postnoon on Friday.
Kodela criticised the State government for its indolent attitude toward natural calamity. “It’s a shame on this government as it does not have any contingency plan to help the farmers. During the TDP government, we not only had specific budget during the four consecutive years hit by severe drought, but also provided complete help to the farmers. We gave them 100 per cent subsidy on seeds where as this government is struggling to even give 50 per cent subsidy on seeds,” Sivaprasad reminded.
But Lakshminarayana has another plausible explanation to the lack of contingency plan. During the eight year rule of the Congress government, it never faced a drought.
“We never felt the need for a special budget since our government came into power in 2004. We had normal rainfall every year,” he said. The agriculture minister is now holding hectic talks with various departments to cobble up a semblance of the contingency plan in consultation with the chief minister.