SHAMSHER SINGH RAWAT, who has been holding the administrative reins of Chittoor district for more than three years, has his priorities and goals set.
The Collector has succeeded in placing the district at the forefront in the matter of development. The district administration has extended benefits to the tune of Rs.600 crore directly to the poorest of the poor by implementing housing programmes (Rs.250 crore); providing employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (Rs.150 crore); procuring milk at a remunerative price from cattle raisers; and by extending pensions to widows, the aged and physically handicapped persons.
Chittoor ranks second, next only to Anantapur district, in the State in terms of works completed under the NREGS. In all 10,000 acres (one acre = 0.4 hectare) were brought under mango cultivation under the scheme. By doubling the daily wages to Rs.80 for both men and women labourers, the State government has not only bettered their living standards but succeeded in removing the gender gap.
In the health sector, Rawat has ensured a rise in the number of institutional deliveries and the smooth implementation of immunisation programmes by appointing 3,000 women health volunteers in addition to the existing medical and health staff. The National Rural Health Mission and the Emergency Management Research Institutes (EMRI) call 108 for emergency service have pressed 20 ambulances into service.
The districts gross domestic product is set to see a twofold rise as milk yield, horticulture and sericulture are poised for a leap. By December-end, we forecast milk procurement to the extent of two lakh litres a day, Rawat said. He believes that the completion of irrigation projects such as Galeru Nagari, Handri Neeva and Somasila-Swarnamukhi Link Canal will place the semi-arid and backward district on a rung higher, as it is expected to generate an additional ayacut of three lakh acres by 2010.A.D. Rangarajan