Praja Sankalpa Yatra Diary, Day 39: Where is the promised Farm Price Stabilisation Fund?

AP leader of opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at Venkatapuram village - Sakshi Post

Venkatapuram Cross, Anantapur District: As I set foot in Puttaparthi Assembly constituency, I immediately remembered Satya Sai Baba and his incomparable legacy of providing drinking water to countless villages and hamlets in the parched areas of Anantapur district. In the field of education and health too, his contribution has few parallels.

Today, a large number of municipal workers met me. “GO No 279 issued by this Government is sounding a death knell to our sole source of livelihood,” they said, and thanked me saying that it was because of me that they were able to get their salaries on time. I recall that during my Rythu Bharosa Yatra in Kalyanadurg, the municipal workers had sought my cooperation in redressing their grievances. They said despite their agitations, the government is paying no heed. I then gave an ultimatum to the Government and said that the YSRCP would take up a state-wide agitation if the grievances of the municipal workers were not addressed immediately. This made the Government climb down from its high perch and hastily implement a pay hike for the municipal workers. Now, the government wants to privatize civic services. If and when that happens, the workers will be left to do the toil of sweeping the roads and cleaning the premises, while the dispensation’s blue-eyed boys will turn contractors to mint money.

They told me that there were over 40000 such employees, most of whom are Dalits from poor economic background. They also said that bids have been invited for 60 municipalities and the contracts of 35 of them went to one agency. It is clear that this is nothing but a devious attempt by the ruling party to reward its cronies. They also warned that thousands of families would be left in the lurch once GO No 279 comes into force. Till now it is the employees who have been outsourced. Once this GO becomes operational, the civic services themselves will become outsourced.

At Marala, I had an interaction with the farmers who came out with their ideas for better farming which in turn, would improve their lives. Here too, there was a persistent demand to complete the irrigation distributary network. They said that had the distributary canal network of Handri-Neeva project been completed, this area would have prospered and there would have been lush crops everywhere. They also rued that they have no remunerative prices for what little they are getting to harvest. Their pleas for remunerative prices are falling on deaf ears.

Finally, a question to the chief minister! As part of the slew of your election promises, you had said that if YS Jagan can set up a Rs-3000-crore price stabilization fund, a far more experienced Chandrababu would set up a Rs 5000 crore stabilization fund! Whatever happened to that promise? Don’t you think you have a responsibility to save the farmers from getting increasingly mired in the debt trap?

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