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Drought: Congress leaders petition official

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, JAN. 12. Congress leaders from Chitttoor district led by the party's official spokesman, G. Muddukrishnama Naidu, met the Commissioner for Disaster Management, Asutosh Mishra, here on Monday demanding that all the 66 mandals in the district be declared drought-hit.

Presently only 14 mandals have been included in the list of drought-hit areas.

The delegation said failure of both the North-West and North-East monsoons affected vast areas cultivating paddy, sugarcane, groundnut, sunflower, banana, chilli and lemon crops in all the mandals. Mango orchards also suffered due to the fall in groundwater level, they said and alleged that the Government's failure to ensure nine-hour power supply as promised also added to the problem.

<167,0.8p,1>Mr. Naidu later told reporters that most of the reservoirs and irrigation tanks in the district had gone dry leading to water scarcity at a number of places. <167,0.8p,1>

The problem was more severely in Puttur, Srikalahasti, Satyavedu, Tirupati and Nagari Assembly constituencies.

<167,0.8p,1>He sought release of sufficient funds for sinking borewells wherever necessary, completion of on-going protected water schemes, supply of fodder, release of grains under the Food-for-work programme, waiver of fee for students and compensation of Rs. 2,500 per acre to farmers who had lost their crop.

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