Manipal Hospital Centre, Guntur District: Yet another instance of the TDP government’s unbridled greed especially with regard to land grabbing came to light, during the course of my Padayatra today. Gadde Ravikiran of Malkapuram village met me with his father today. He said that they own 19.74 acres of land, running along the wall of the proposed new state secretariat. This land has been theirs for many generations now. Yet, the current TDP government has been exerting a lot of pressure on them to part with it under land pooling. Citing lame excuses, the government authorities had scrapped his passbook. Though he had gone to the court and got interim orders in his favour, he was still being harassed by the officials. Like thieves, the government authorities were getting work done clandestinely, under police protection, and whenever his father tried to intervene, he was shoved away, said a furious Ravi Kiran. If the government, whose duty it is to protect the poor and common citizens, uses such clandestine means to harass its own people, who will safeguard the interests of the man on the street?

Srinivasa Reddy, who met me today on the Padayatra, is a small businessman. His story showcased another instance of how the chief minister’s assurances lack credibility. He had loaned Rs.5 lakhs—his precious savings— to one Kesava Reddy. Now, when he needed the money, because two of his children suffered from a heart ailment, the borrower looked the other way and started avoiding him. He explained his problems to him at length in vain. A minister who promised to help him, did not respond to his pleas. After all attempts to recover his money failed, he tried to take his own life in front of the Chief Minister’s camp office last year.

After great difficulty and many attempts, he met the AP Chief Minister. He was assured by the CM that he would be given one lakh rupees and his 3 children would get Rs.50,000 per child. This was on February 6 and he was hopeful that his children would get Rs.50,000 each and he would get one lakh rupees as promised by the Chief Minister. To date he has not received a rupee. Expressing his anguish, he wondered what credibility the commitment of a chief minister had! If the promise made by a Chief Minister has no value then who will protect the interests of the masses?

The tragedy that befell a 28-year-old Muslim woman left me numb with shock and pain. Both her kidneys had failed, and her husband who was a poor auto driver, was willing to donate his kidney to help her live. The surgery however would cost Rs.6 lakhs, according to doctors. They were not covered by Arogyasri. When they sought the help of the local MLA in getting the required help from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, he is said to have responded by saying, “Where can one get such a huge amount from?"She wailed—“Anna, I want to live for the sake of my child.” I was moved by her plea. Once again, this interaction strengthened my resolve to restore my father’s pioneering healthcare initiative, Arogyasri, to its former glory.

I have a question for the chief minister—you had promised to expand the Arogyasri scheme and strengthen it. Apart from changing the name of the healthcare scheme, have you achieved anything? Are you not responsible for diluting it completely? Is it not true that the lives of the poor have no value under your regime?