Declare all 443 rural mandals as drought hit: Uttam

Hyderabad, March 30: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy on Wednesday demanded that the State Government declare all 443 rural mandals of Telangana as drought hit. He also demanded that agricultural workers be provided works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) throughout the drought period by relaxing the cap of 100 mandays.

The TPCC President said nearly 73 lakh agricultural workers across Telangana State need works under NREGA due to severe drought conditions. He said thousands of farmers and agriculture workers have been migrating to other cities in search of livelihood. “Failure of four successive crops, extreme drought conditions for two consecutive years, mounting debts and chronic unemployment is leading to mass exodus of farmers and agricultural workers. Therefore, State Government should provide works under NREGA without having a ceiling on mandays. Further, the daily wages should be increased from Rs. 124 to Rs. 200 to help the drought affected farmers and workers,” he demanded.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the NREGA, introduced by the previous UPA regime in 2005, was aimed to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household. However, he said that the TRS Government was not implementing the NREGA seriously. He said last year only 38 lakh wage seekers belonging to 22 lakh households in Telangana were provided works during last year. He said although people in drought-hit areas were entitled to get additional 50 days of works, only 1.1 lakh (or just 5%) of employed households touched the 100-day mark last year.

The TPCC chief also slammed the TRS Government for not clearing the wages within the stipulated time of 15 days. He said lakhs of drought affected workers are still waiting for their dues to be cleared and in some areas they did not get any payment for the last two-three months.

He said besides declaration of drought in all 443 rural mandals, the State Government should take measures on war-footing basis to provide drinking water in all 8517 Gram Panchayats. He said cattle deaths are being reported from across the State due to lack of fodder and water.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the State Government should increase the input subsidy for drought-hit farmers. He said both the State and Central Governments should intervene on immediate basis to prevent further deterioration in the situation.

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