Farm sector will be hit

Farm sector will be hit

Andhra Pradesh is the rice bowl of India with agriculture being the major source of income for about 60% of the population even though it contributes...

On one hand, we Indians talk of ‘unity’ and on the other hand talk of dividing the states into parts. That is a recipe for more internal problems

Andhra Pradesh is the rice bowl of India with agriculture being the major source of income for about 60% of the population even though it contributes only 19% state GDP. Agriculture is the main source of economy and the prosperity of agriculture will contribute to the general prosperity of nation.

In the post-liberalisation period, regions are specialising in crops based on their resource endowment (Coastal Andhra in paddy, coconut and aquaculture; Telangana in cotton and Rayalaseema in groundnut), even though all the regions show general tendency of diversification towards high value crops like fruits, vegetables, spices, cotton and sugarcane. In many agricultural development indicators, Coastal Andhra is better positioned followed by Telangana and Rayalaseema.

The two major rivers, Krishna and Godavari, are a major source of water supply both for drinking and agriculture. But both the rivers enter Andhra Pradesh from the Telangana region. The amount of land cultivated in Guntur and Krishna districts is more than the land cultivated under the same Krishna river with canals in the entire Telangana region.

Nagarjuna Sagar dam is built in Nalgonda district in Telangana. But most of its water is used for agriculture and drinking purpose in Krishna and Guntur districts. Thungabhadra river enters the state in Mahaboobnagar district in Telangana. But the district has remained the worst drought-hit area on par with Ananthapur because there is no project for better utilisation of Thungabhadra water. The plans for utilization have been pending for decades.

In Telangana regions, only a few areas cultivate one crop and rarely two crops a year while most of the land doesn’t even cultivate a single crop. In both the East and West Godavari districts, Krishna and Guntur district, two crops a year is common and aquaculture is extensive in coastal area. The only reason for the extensive cultivation is ‘water’. Thirty-three per cent of the population in Ananthapur district has left for livelihood to different parts of the state due to drought and a majority of them are working as daily labourers.

Ground water utilization, using free electricity, is very high in Telangana. In the recent studies given by the Oceanographic and Meteorology Department, sea levels have risen in the entire coastal belt and unless and until there is more flood waters the land may become salty and can’t be used for agriculture. Already the state is facing a lot of problems in water distribution from neighbouring states of Karnataka, Odisha and Maharashtra. So, creation of new states will create more troubles.

Division of the state will result in water problem in Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana. The Farmers Water Users Association has expressed the fear that state division will make the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh barren, resulting in starvation deaths and unemployment to the farmers. The Telangana agitators must realise the fact that Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Ananthapur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts are more backward than others in the state. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has recently pointed out to water-sharing problems, among others, if the state is divided.

The demand for separate Telangana state is only a political move without taking into account the welfare of the state. States are divided on linguistic basis but not on regional basis. Recently created states like Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand are reeling under red terror and lack of resources and there is a lot of political instability in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar also felt that small states do not necessarily bring about prosperity.

He went on to say that the people of Punjab are now realising that bifurcation of the state was a big mistake. India's social activist and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare said that creation of Telangana state will not only encourage the demand for newer states, but also new districts which will weaken the country.

The basic thing that matters for good governance and administration is “how many heads to shelter and how many mouths to feed”. No matter how good the system is with an increase in number of users there will be delays and gaps and the system becomes inefficient. There will be heavy expenditure on building infrastructure for a new capital.

On one hand, we Indians talk of ‘unity’ and on the other hand talk of dividing the states into parts. That is a recipe for more internal problems. Already separate statehood demands are rising their heads in West Bengal, Maharashtra, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa etc. These divisions ultimately take us back to the British rule.

Even though the Central government may help build a new capital city, it can’t be a Hyderabad with such infrastructure. So united we will win and divided we will fail in development. Hence my request is not to divide the state.

(The writer is Associate Professor, Sri YN College, Narsapur, West Godavari District)

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