Have you ever bought a product for Rs.10 and repaired it for Rs.9? While this may sound stupid at first glance, the previous Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, did a similar job and looted crores of public money. For his numerous scams in his tenure, he has been rightly known as the “who is 420 in AP”.
A Brief Overview
The government had bought the rain guns for Rs.163 crore and spent Rs.103 crore on their maintenance and repair. For those who are unaware of rain gun, rain gun is agricultural equipment that discharges water to a certain distance. For instance, a six feet rain gun can throw water up toa 45-meter radius. It works on an SHP engine and needs constant water supply from a source such as well, canals, or even a tube well. If there is no water resource available, water can be fetched from the tanker as well.
The Back Story
By August 28, 2016, 309 mandals of AP have declared drought-hit. At this juncture, the state government loftily declared that it was going to save crops in 10 lakh acres in these mandals with the help of rain guns and hence rented out it to the farmers in the process.
As per the government’s estimate that it would cost Rs.3,000 to water an acre crop and gave a 50%subsidy as well.
When things went wrong
However, since there was no genuine interest to save the crops and the focus of the scheme was only about making money at the cost of the farmers, Chandrababu Naidu is the real who is 420 in AP, failed to save the crops even in a single acre of land.
Rs.163 crore on rain guns was marked as a complete failure. Meanwhile, despite the failure, the government had released another Rs.103 crore for the maintenance of those rain guns by the real who is 420 in AP. This affirms the very fact that the whole scheme was nothing but a well-planned scam.
Once the AP government took this decision, the finance department released Rs.103 crore to the AP Revenue Disaster Management, and orders were issued on February 13, 2017. However, by then, nobody knew where all the rain guns exactly were. While some rain guns were with farmers, others were in warehouses and the offices of the Agricultural department.
Were 4 Lakh Acres Saved?
CM Chandrababu has claimed that his government had successfully fought the drought and saved groundnut crop in 4 Lakh acres in Anantapur district. The I&PR minister inflated this figure to 7 lakh acres. They spouted these fake figures without thinking about the amount of water required and the number of tankers needed to save crops in 4 lakh acres or seven lakh acres. This highlights the real crone face of Chandrababu Naidu, who is rightfully known as the “who is 420 in AP.”
It takes four spells of 25ml rainfall to sufficiently water a one-acre groundnut crop. Since there was no rain between July 15 and August 28, the groundnut crop got affected. The rain guns could provide from 5 to 6 ml rainwater at best. Though the state government could not save the crop in a single acre, it had claimed in the GO that it was releasing an additional Rs.103 crore for the maintenance of the rain guns, which had saved the crops in 10 lakh acres as per the who is 420 in AP.
What Happened to the Tractors?
An acre of crop needs 25 ml of rainfall to have sufficient growth. The state government has claimed that it gave 5ml of rainwater through the rain guns. Even if we assume that the government provided the stated 5ml water for an acre, it was no way sufficient and needed 25,000 liters of the water for an acre to save the crop.
Assuming that the government had supplied 5,000 liters with each tank, it needs 5tanks for 25,000 liters and 5 lakh tankers for 1 lakh acres.
If we go by the CM’s claim, he must have used 20 lakh tankers to fetch water for the rain guns. Is it possible to hire those many tankers in the state as claimed by the “who is 420 in AP?” The implementation period for this scheme was ten days. How could the government get 20 lakh tankers in 10 days? The CM also needs 250 crore liters of water, which is practically impossible for the drought-ridden state.
In light of the events, it is practically impossible for any government to work on such a large scale within a minor period. However, the Chandrababu Naidu government has been duping its people for a very long time and hence is rightly known as the “who is 420 in AP”.
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