KCR ups the ante over Medigadda, warns Congress government of mass farmers’ stir

The BRS chief also accused the Revanth Reddy regime of intentionally neglecting the barrage repairs, resulting in extensive crop losses.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Apr 05, 2024 | 10:15 PM Updated Apr 05, 2024 | 10:15 PM

BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao interacts with farmers on Friday, 5 April, 2024.

BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao on Friday, 5 April, warned the Congress government in Telangana that if it did not undertake repairs to the Medigadda Barrage of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) and provide immediate relief to farmers, he would lead 50,000 farmers to Medigadda and stage a protest.

He was speaking to reporters  at Sircilla after interacting with farmers and inspecting dried-up standing crops in the Sircilla and Karimnagar districts as well as the Mid Manair reservoir

KCR declared that his party — along with farmers — would launch a massive agitation after the Lok Sabha elections against the state government for its criminal negligence in repairing the Medigadda barrage, which was leading to distress in agriculture.

He accused the Congress government of intentionally neglecting the barrage repairs, resulting in extensive crop losses.

The BRS chief also told reporters: “The incomparable degree of incompetence exhibited by the current government in managing water resources has led to standing crops drying up over about 15 lakh acres in the state.”

Related: KCR demands ₹25,000 per acre for Telangana farmers who incurred crop loss

Highlighting water woes

The former chief minister claimed Telangana was journeying backwards to the pre-2014 days when it was part of the undivided Andhra Pradesh.

“The Indiramma Rajyam days from before 2014 have returned. People are clamouring for water. Water tankers are moving around on the roads. Women are queuing up before them with empty water pitchers,” he said.

“Crops are dying in the fields. Farmers are unable to draw water from borewells as pump sets have burnt out because of erratic and poor-quality power supply,” added KCR.

In a combative mode, he said Congress had said the Lok Sabha elections would be more like a referendum on its 100 days of rule in the state.

“We will expose the Congress doublespeak and its penchant to take the people for a ride with tall promises and zero action on the ground,” he said.

The former chief minister said that the Congress argument — that water levels in reservoirs were low since there were no rains last year — was not tenable.

The rainfall last year was more than normal, he claimed, going on to ridicule the vainglorious assertion of Chief Minister and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee chief A Revanth Reddy that he would act if the list of 200 farmers who had died by suicide in the last 100 days was furnished to him.

“I have sent the list to the chief secretary within four hours and yet there is no follow-up action,” he said, warning that the poor farmers’ curse would haunt Revanth forever if he did not come to their rescue.

The former chief minister demanded that the government pay ₹25 lakh as ex gratia to the kin of each farmer who ended their lives, and ₹25,000 per acre to farmers whose crops had dried up due to lack of water.

As it was a drought that was Congress’ making, the party should take full responsibility to alleviate the suffering of the farmers, he said.

Related: In interaction with farmers, KCR shows that game is not over yet

Powerless under Congress?

KCR also carped the government for its inability to supply power, though there was no shortage despite the heightened consumption.

“Last year this time, the peak demand was 14,900 MW. This year it has touched 15,600 MW. But this year there was an extra 1,400 MW of power from the NTPC from its additional capacity commissioned recently (85 percent of it comes to Telangana because the unit is located in the state),” he noted.

Though there was ample power, the state was floundering in managing its supply and preventing the motors from burning out in farms, he said.

He warned Congress that BRS would not let the government off the hook if it did not address the problems of the farmers.

“If you do not act, we will act. We will pursue you and hunt you down. Don’t forget that the difference in vote share between BRS and Congress was only 1.8 percentage points,” he said.

“We are still a very large party, and we can paralyse the government,” he warned, besides calling upon farmers to get ready for a legal fight in the high court for the delay in payment of the ₹300 crore dues to the weavers of Sircilla, which had been cleared by his government before it demitted office.

He called the Congress leaders “lathkore chavatalu, daddammalu, and asamardhulu” which, translated roughly, means “nincompoops and clowns who were not only incapable but also outright inefficient” in discharging their duties.

He said Congress had pulled the wool over the eyes of the people with their six guarantees and rode to power. But in the 100 days that had gone by, their rule had come to be marked by broken promises and blatant betrayal of the people’s trust.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)