Gannavaram Cross, Krishna District: My father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy envisioned a future for students of our state wherein they would have access to the best of quality education on par with international standards. It was with this noble intention that he established IIITs in our state. He gave them a touch of professionalism to ensure that they delivered quality education.
However, I was shocked to learn of the current state of affairs in IIIT Nuzvid whose students came and met me today. "The institution is short of staff and those who have been employed are contract employees," they said. The infrastructure is not up to the mark, they added. “On top of everything,” they fumed, “Chandrababu Naidu claims that he had established these institutions. The Srikakulam IIIT is being run from Nuzvid. This has created other problems for us. Apart from a lot of pressure on infrastructure it has also made it difficult for the staff to manage things."
The students also pointed out that SC/ST students were not given their total fee reimbursement. They said that they were neither getting education loans, nor did they have access to high-quality education. “We joined the prestigious IIIT with high hopes and aspirations, but have become very pessimistic now. We don’t feel confident any more about finding jobs once our course gets done and the future looks bleak to us," they said with showing a lot of cynicism. “Students like us, who hail from villages, have been subject to a lot of suffering under the TDP regime. We are hopeful that you will ensure justice to students of prestigious institutions such as ours." My resolve to restore such institutions to their former glory and also to streamline the fee reimbursement scheme so that all students benefit without loss of time, got strengthened even further.
While I was on my padayatra this morning, employees of temples came and met me. They told me that despite having put in more than two decades of service, they are forced to make their two ends meet on very meager salaries. And that survival had become a challenge for them. They lamented that they had neither avenues of promotion nor job security. "It has become difficult to offer prasadam to the lord and this government does not accord temples the required sanctity. Only God knows our plight. For months on end, we do not get paid."
The indiscriminate grabbing of temple lands by leaders of the ruling party has brought things to this sorry state. The Chandrababu Naidu government imposed several restrictions and narrowed down the scope of Prasadam and other offerings to the dieties in the temples on one pretext or the other. It has circumscribed the number of temple which would benefit from this scheme. This was pointed out by temple priests and others who said that while temples prospered during my father's period, the opposite was the case under Chandrababu Naidu. The chief minister made a rather bizarre statement at the collector's conference. He said that in future, it would be difficult to protect lands belonging to the endowments department. If the chief minister resolves to punish his proxies and followers who are grabbing temple lands with impunity, then perhaps he can think of providing security to temple lands.
I have a question for the chief minister—Isn't it shameful that being a chief minister you say that it would be difficult to protect endowment lands? Isn't it true that most of the lands belonging to temples and religious trusts have been grabbed in your tenure? Isn't the case of Sadavarthi lands a classic example? What about the temple lands of Kanakadurgamma? Have you forgotten that there are several instances of Tantric pooja, disappearance of jewellery (belonging to deities) and other irregularities under your regime?