Andhra Pradesh government would ban online gambling by making necessary amendments to the Act and the State Cabinet has given its nod for implementing free power to farmers through direct cash transfer to bank accounts. Briefing media after the cabinet meeting here on Thursday, Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said online gambling will be banned and amendments will be carried out in the State Gaming Act, 1974.

Organisers of online gambling would get a jail term of one year along with a fine for a first time offenders, while the jail term would go up to two years with fine for repeat offenders. Those playing online games will be sentenced for six months jail. The Chief Minister was particular about the free power to the farmers and that no burden should fall on them.

The government shall implement the scheme, through direct cash transfer mode, where the money will be directly credited to farmers’ bank accounts for the power consumed by them in their fields and they, in turn, shall pay the power bills to the Discoms. This gives a sense of feeling that the farmers have been paying for the power consumed and the DISCOMS will not go into the red. The pilot project will be introduced in Srikakulam and it will cover the entire state from April 2021.

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Not a single connection will be removed and all the connections will be regularised while nine hour power supply in day time should be ensured, and the cost of smart meters should be borne by DISCOMs and State. To meet the demand, plans are afoot for developing 10,000 MW solar power plant and the power reforms will not affect the farmers.

Smart meters will be installed and dedicated bank accounts will be created solely for the purpose of paying the subsidy amount. The state government is spending Rs 1700 Crore for strengthening the electricity feeders and Rs 8300 Crore per annum towards this scheme.

While it was YSR government that has introduced free power to farmers scheme, TDP has watered it down and neglected the farmers. During the previous TDP term only 40 percent of feeders were working and we have brought it to 89 percent and remaining gap will be filed by this Rabi. So far, 18 lakh power connections are there in the State and all connections of farmers will be regularised.

Divisional development Officer posts will be created for better functioning of the Village Secretariats. The Cabinet gave in-principle approval for constructing two barrages downstream to Prakasam barrage, each with a holding capacity of 3TMC. The first one will be constructed between Penamaluru and Mangalagiri with an estimated budget of Rs 1215 crore and the second one between Mopidevi and Repalle with an expenditure of Rs 1273 Crore. The cabinet approved various irrigation projects, including Babu Jagjivan Ram Uttharandhra Sujala Sravanthi for irrigating 8 lakh acres in North Andhra region, with a budget of Rs 15389.80 Crore, the Minister said.

The cabinet gave its nod for constructing Varikapudisila lift irrigation project in Palanadu region with a budget of Rs 1273 Crore. As part of Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Project, the cabinet approved the works of 14 reservoirs and lift irrigation projects.

In order to boost aquaculture, the State will start Fisheries University in West Godavari district with a cost of Rs 300 Crore in the next five-years. Land was allocated lands for setting up of two medical colleges in Bapatla(51.07 acres) and Markapuram (41.97 acres), he said.

Further, the cabinet approved GO MS 80 for the establishment of AP State Development Corporation for planning and funding of State government’s welfare schemes like Nadu-Nedu, Cheyutha, Aasara, Rythu Bharosa.
The State has extended the ban on Maoist Party and its frontal organisations by one year.

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