Kaikaluru, Krishna District: Agri-Gold, Akshaya Gold, Siri Gold,Abhaya Gold, the name may vary, but the victims are common people and the current rulers have backed the offenders clearly. These hapless victims lost their savings, cheated by such dubious companies. Worse, the government which had promised to help them, did very little to mitigate their plight.

Some of these victims, both depositors, as well as agents, met me on my Padayatra today at Mandavalli and narrated their problems at length.  They were victims of Abhaya Gold, who deposited their precious, hard earned savings with the company only to be left high and dry. They also persuaded their friends and relatives to deposit their savings with the firm. The Kaikaluru region itself accounted for deposits worth Rs.4 crores. Some of the agents committed suicide, unable to bear the pressure of depositors. “Sir, we are hopeful that better days would come to the state soon under your leadership and that you will take care of our problems as well.  We are certain that you would render justice unto us," they said. When the government itself is eyeing the assets of the company which had cheated the poor and robbed them of their savings, what justice can you expect from the current TDP regime!  The arrogant, scornful and condescending manner in which Ayyana Patrudu of the ruling party, spoke to victims of Agri-Gold, is truly shocking and condemnable, to say the least.  His sarcastic comment that they paid the price for their greed is worth denouncing. After all, these poor victims had sunk their savings into the company in good faith and were duped. To be ridiculed by members of the ruling party in this manner is inhuman and betrays the TDP’s haughtiness.

Nagalakshmi was a single woman with two children, whose husband fell victim to vices and left her. She had to fend for herself out of sheer compulsion. She met me and described her plight and said that she had tried her hand at a number of things. She was at times, overcome with depression, but had to plod on with determination only to support her two children. “Anna, I tried to run an Idli shop and tried tailoring too. I faced sarcasm and derision.  I started driving an autorickshaw to support my children. I now manage to earn enough for two square meals a day.  I want nothing more than a decent education for my children. I congratulated Nagalaxmi who withstood all the challenges thrown by life at her and buffeted the many storms which came her way with courage and dignity.

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Students and staff of Alluri Sitaramaraju Junior College met me in Kalidindi today. In 2011 the state government took over this Junior College, but to their misery, the teaching and non-teaching staff have not been paid their salaries to date. The government did not implement the orders issued by the tribunal in this respect, they pointed out.  They added that some of their colleagues had even retired.  Hopeful that they would see better days, they managed to survive by the skin of their teeth.  How can these people live if they had not been paid for seven long years?   Moreover, how can these rulers show any compassion towards the staff of such colleges when their attention was completely focused on corporate colleges owned by their proxies?

My poser to the chief minister—the poor victims of companies like Agri-Gold are being ridiculed and scorned upon by leaders of your party.  Taking you at your word and believing that you would fulfil your promises, people got deceived by you. What is the difference between you and a company like Agri-Gold? Didn’t you also cheat people by making tall promises?