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PM in Andhra Pradesh to meet farmers

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | July 01, 2004 10:32 IST
Last Updated: July 01, 2004 11:16 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was on Thursday morning accorded a rousing welcome in Hyderabad on his first one-day visit to Andhra Pradesh to interact with farmers in distress and review the government's efforts to check suicides.

Andhra Pradesh has been rocked by a series of suicides by farmers unable to pay their debts. The Congress, which wrested power in the state from the Telugu Desam Party, had made the suicides its main poll plank in the assembly election.

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PM to meet Andhra farmers

Governor Dr Surjit Singh Barnala, Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, assembly Speaker K R Suresh Reddy and Chief Secretary Mohan Kanda led the list of dignitaries present at Hyderabad airport to receive Singh who arrived on a special plane.

Singh later boarded an MI-8 helicopter and left for Somayajupalli village in Kurnool district where he will have a one-and-a-half hour programme comprising a visit to a photo-exhibition on the plight of farmers, watch a presentation on the measures taken by the state government for the welfare of farmers and interact with bereaved families of farmers who committed suicide.

After that, he will visit Dharmapur village in Mahbubnagar district before returning to Hyderabad in the evening.

He will meet the chief minister and other officials besides representatives of political parties at the Raj Bhavan before leaving for Delhi at 1900 IST.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had announced that it is committed to giving a 'new deal' to rural India. Addressing the nation on June 24, Singh expressed regret that 'no helping hand' was extended to farmers who have been in distress in many parts of the country. The neglect of their interests had led to significant slowing down of agricultural growth in the past five years, he had said.

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