Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Thursday made it clear that supply of irrigation and drinking water remained the top-most priority for the Telangana government.

He said as the water resources in the State were fast depleting, lift irrigation schemes were the only option to ensure water supply to all.
The Assembly approved the amendment to the Telangana State Commission for Debt Relief (Small Farmers, Agricultural Labourers and Rural Artisans) Bill on Thursday. It relaxes the norms for the appointment of a senior farmer or farm expert instead of mandating the appointment of a retired High Court judge as its chairperson.

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said the government brought several reforms to make agriculture profitable for farmers. He said in the wake of depleting water resources from the Krishna and Godavari rivers, the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme and other lift irrigation projects were the only option to safeguard the interests of farmers.

“In the Gulf, governments desalinate seawater and provide drinking water to their citizens. It is a costly affair, yet it is their priority. Considering the geographical location of Telangana, we have no option but spend money on electricity to lift water from the Godavari after Krishna became unreliable,” Rao said.

He made it clear that the government would continue to support farmers through Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima, free power supply and irrigation water supply, notwithstanding the expenditure. Rao also said though the government has immense respect towards the judiciary, it brought the amendment for appointing a senior farmer or farm expert to head the Commission as it felt those related to farming would have a better understanding of agriculture-related issues and could empathise with the farmers. He said the decision was taken keeping in view the best interests of farmers.

Earlier, Congress suggested not to change the existing norms as a retired High Court judge had better credibility and any other person might not do justice to farmers in case of any personal agenda.

AIMIM appreciated the efforts of the government for farmers’ welfare, but suggested it to reduce farm expenditure and protect the interests of farmers in the wake of the existing climatic conditions, resulting in uncertainty of produce. BJP wanted the government to provide health cover to the farmers.

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