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Tardy pace of project work irks Chief Minister

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, JAN. 10. The Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, has pulled up officials for the slow progress of Andhra Pradesh Micro Irrigation Project (APMIP) work.

The project was designed to be implemented in 879 mandals of 22 districts covering 2.5 lakh hecatres.

For 20040-2005 it was planned to cover one lakh hectares. But the first phase covered only 42, 304 hectares and the subsquent phase, only 12,198 hectares.

Asking the officials to explain the reasons for the poor show, Dr.Reddy emphasised on the need for developing an alternative cropping pattern.

He directed them to evolve monthly target system. In a decision that was bound to spark a fresh row with the Opposition, the Government hiked the prices of certain MI components ranging from 14 per cent to 20 per cent as per the agreement with the companies.

The agreement provides for revision of the prices of some components after a year.

The Government, however, defended its move citing the agreement and the fact that the net rise in the procurement price of some components like PVC pipes had abnormally gone up. Still, the cost being given to the companies was lower by about 19 per cent compared to other States, it was stated.

TDP campaign decried

Meanwhile, the Congress Legislature Party has decried the campaign of the TDP against the irrigation projects accusing it of attempting to stall rural development.

In a statement, the CLP members -- P. Sambasiva Raju, M. Buddha Prasad, K. Murali Mohan, A. Ramnarayan Reddy, B. Srinivasa Reddy, V. Vasantha Kumar, G. Babji, P. Viswaroop, T. Venkat Rao and T. Venkata Narasimham -- said here on Monday that the Congress Government had embarked on an ambitious plan to develop a new ayacut of 65 lakh acres.

The Government had planned to develop the backward areas of all regions in the State and there was no discrimination shown against any region. Ad hoc approach and discrimination against any region were the hallmarks of the previous regime, they said.

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