AP in thick of drought

The deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has cautioned that Andhra Pradesh was heading for a “manmade crisis” leading to a “permanent drought like situation”.

His observation came ahead of his scheduled meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, on Friday to discuss and finalise the annual plan. In a letter to the Chief Minister, a copy of which is with this newspaper, Mr Ahluwalia said the power and the groundwater scenario as well as loss of forest cover in the state were matters of concern.

“Between 2005 and 2007, there is a net loss of forest cover of about 129 sq. kms in the state,” he said, and warned that this would make groundwater levels plummet. Mr Ahluwalia urged the state to urgently frame a “well thought out plan of action” to control the situation.

He said the overall groundwater development was only 45 per cent against the national average of 58 per cent. At the same time, he also commended the state government for its outstanding performance in implementing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and asked it to converge the scheme with water conservation programmes.

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