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`Government committed to agriculture'

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, JULY 15. The Minister for Major Irrigation, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, has reiterated the Government's commitment to agriculture and to the people dependent on it.

He was addressing engineers at a seminar to mark the 103rd birthday celebrations of engineer-statesman, K.L. Rao, conducted by the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the Institution of Engineers (India), here on Thursday.

Mr. Lakshmaiah recalled the contribution of K.L. Rao, both as an engineer and a political leader. "K.L. Rao was a formidable personality, an endless source of energy and a person who was the Union Irrigation Minister in the Cabinet of three successive Prime Ministers - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi," he said, adding that the engineers of today need to emulate him.

The Chairman and Managing Director, Power Grid Corporation of India, R.P. Singh, said in the ongoing reforms process, the emphasis was on improving the distribution sector, including rural electrification. The electricity industry had the prime responsibility of providing secure, reliable and economical supply to agriculture.

The Principal, Administrative Staff College of India, S. Kesava Rao, in his keynote address, felt that what the farmers were concerned was access to quality power in a predictable manner and not about the power charges as such. Depletion of the water table had led to the need for farmers to shift to less water-intensive crops. This could be achieved only if a price was attached to water. The Chairman of IEI's AP chapter, Wing Commander V.L. Nandakumar, presided. While R. Radhakrishnamurthy, former chairman, welcomed the gathering, Chandramohan, honorary secretary of the chapter, proposed a vote of thanks.

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