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Andhra villages to get bottled water
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, June 26
An ambitious scheme to supply bottled mineral water for all villages in Andhra Pradesh will be launched on August 15.

Mini-plants for bottling water will be set up in villages having a population of 1,500 and above and local women self-help groups will be involved in running the plants, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy said today.

He was speaking after inaugurating a two-day conference of District Collectors convened here to review the welfare schemes and development programmes.

“Each bottling plant will cost just about Rs 2 lakh and can supply water to a population of 1,500 people,” Reddy said.

Within a year of the launch, about 60 per cent of the villages would be covered under the scheme.

“What we are supplying now is only piped water, which is not exactly potable and safe. We can take it up as a challenge and supply safe drinking water by setting up these bottling units,” the Chief Minister said.

To begin with, the water scheme will be implemented in all 28,123 villages in the state which have a perennial drinking water problem.

Reddy also unveiled his government’s plans to introduce cooperative farming model in the state to achieve better productivity and better returns for farmers.

An-all party meeting will be convened on June 29 to elicit opinions of other parties on the issue.

“I want to make this a model programme for the entire country,” he told the conference, the first after the Congress returned to power.

At present, the splintered nature of landholdings was the major hurdle in the way of technology adoption and precision farming. “The cooperative or joint farming can yield good results. Countries

like China, Israel and Vietnam are successfully doing it,” Reddy said.

The government would select one or two villages in each district to take up cooperative farming on a voluntary basis, he said.

Under contract farming, a group of farmers can come together and offer their land for agriculture, horticulture, sericulture, poultry, goat or sheep rearing and allied activities. “If a group of farmers raise Rs 10 crore by coming together, the government will contribute an equal amount and they can borrow another Rs 20 crore to Rs 30 crore from banks,” he said.

Pointing out that the state has 1.1 crore landholdings with each farmer owning one to three acres of land, the Chief Minister said it was not easy to cultivate the fragmented lands and this was also not yielding benefits to the farmers.

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