Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu urged President Pranab Mukherjee to launch the state government’s ‘Neeru-Pragati’ programme of digging farm ponds on December 29 or 30. Naidu met the President at the Rashtrapati Nilayam here. He informed the President that the AP government had undertaken digging of farm ponds on a massive scale to recharge the ground water. Our aim is to make the state drought-free, we are planning to bring out a model where Andhra Pradesh can become a model for drought mitigation, a government release quoted Naidu as saying. The CM also explained to the President various initiatives of his government to make the state drought-proof through water conservation and effective water management. Our government has achieved a historic feat by releasing water from river Godavari into Krishna through Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project in just over five months, he said. Farmers can now irrigate 1.20 lakh acres in Krishna and West Godavari districts. Further, about 10 TMC of water will be supplied for domestic and industrial uses in West Godavari and Krishna districts, Naidu told the President. To promote cultivation during dry spells and improve the declining ground water levels, the Chief Minister said the state government had introduced a new farm pond scheme, Panta Sanjeevani. We are also planning to plant one lakh palm plants under Neeru-Chettu sub-mission in Anantapur, he added.