Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy launched YSR Jala Kala, which aims at drilling borewells in arid and uplands free of cost, here on Monday. He also announced that agricultural pumpsets would be given free of cost to the small and marginal farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said that through YSR Jala Kala, the government was planning to make 5 lakh acres cultivable, with an expenditure of Rs 2,340 crore in four years.

Though Jagan had not made any promise during his 3,648-km padayatra nor any mention in the YSRCP manifesto, motors will also be provided free of cost to the borewells for small and marginal farmers. For issuing the motors, the government will have to bear an additional expenditure of Rs 1,600 crore.

The Chief Minister said that the new electricity motors to be fixed for their motors will not be a burden to them but will provide officials with data on consumption and help them assess the required load of feeders, thereby bringing in transparency into the system. The bill amount for the power consumed would be transferred to the farmers’ bank accounts and they will pay to discoms, he explained, brushing aside negative propaganda of the opposition parties.

A 10,000-MW solar energy unit would come up in the state to cater to the nine-hour free power scheme for the next 30 years, he said.

YSR Jala Kala will be implemented in 144 rural constituencies and 19 semi-urban constituencies. One rig would be allocated to each constituency and it is expected to benefit 2 lakh farmers.

The drilling of borewells will be on the basis of the feasibility report given after the hydro-geological and geo-physical surveys. The farmers can also avail a second chance, in case, they could not draw water in the first attempt.

All the eligible farmers can avail of this initiative by applying either online or through the village secretariats and the status of their application can be monitored at every stage, the CM said.

He reminded that the free electricity scheme was launched by his father and former CM late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and asserted that the YSRC government is committed to the welfare of farmers.

He stated that the government had already opened Rythu Bharosa Kendras to provide seeds and fertilisers to the farmers. Warehouses and crop procurement centres are also being developed, he said, adding that the government was providing Rs 13,500 every year to the farmers under Rythu Bharosa.

The Chief Minister slammed the TDP government for ruining the ‘free power to farmers’ scheme by leaving a debt of Rs 8,655 crore and he also said that the previous government had not paid attention to strengthening of feeders.

“While only 58 per cent of feeders can provide free power during day time, our government has increased the feeder capacity by spending Rs 1,700 crore to ensure that all the farmers can benefit from the scheme.”

The Chief Minister assured the farmers that there will be no additional burden on them, once the new metres were installed.

Ministers Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, M. Sankara Narayana, district collectors and farmers were present.

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