We Will Show You What BC Welfare Means, Chandrababu

AP Leader of Opposition YS Jagan Mohan Reddy - Sakshi Post

Penugonda, West Godavari District: Today, I stepped into one of the sacred places for Arya Vaisyas, the birthplace of their ruling deity, Vasavi Kanyaka Paramasweri, Penugonda. People displayed a lot of affection, even as they narrated their problems to me and submitted petitions and complaints. I felt pained to listen to the problems of the Salivahanas (potter community) whose representatives met me today. They narrated at length how their traditional occupation in which they had been continuing for generations, was now being dismantled by the Chandrababu Naidu regime. They told me how the practice of using pots and earthenware items which they made for offerings to deities in temples, was now being done away with.

I could relate to what Venkatalakshmi of this community told me. She said that due to lack of recognition for members of the potter community, she had made up her mind to educate her children to ensure that they found good jobs for themselves. Her son and daughter-in- law, daughter and son-in-law, were all highly educated, she said.  However, the sad part was that they had to borrow heavily for their education because the fee reimbursement scheme had been diluted and was being applied in a haphazard way. They did not find proper avenues of employment in spite of their education and out of sheer necessity took to their traditional occupation. The tragedy of it all is that not one of them could find a job and pottery does not help them to get by on a day-to-day basis. Mere survival is a challenge for them. After the Chandrababu Naidu government came to power, they were prevented from using sand which was available by lake beds for making pots. TDP men dug up all the sand and were selling it, they lamented. They had to bribe the ruling party workers and leaders for everything, they said. Their complaint was that if the TDP leaders did not help them, they could still survive, but torturing them in this manner made life impossible. They recalled how my father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy had helped them.

During his tenure my father set up a Federation for them and encouraged them, they recalled. He ensured that they were given loans, they recollected with gratitude. He also gave them representation in constitutional bodies, which was a historic decision on his part, they remembered gratefully.

In contrast, Chandrababu Naidu was a man of words not matched by deeds, they said. This was not the only instance where people associated with traditional occupations told me of the manner in which the Chandrababu Naidu government discriminated against them. I encountered thousands of such cases on my Padayatra.

If one encourages and helps those associated with traditional occupation, this would in turn have an impact on the quality of socio-economic life of the village.  Chandrababu has never thought of this aspect. On the one hand, he narrows down the scope of the fee reimbursement scheme and shuts down BC hostels. On the other the BC sub-plan proclaimed by him with great fanfare at the time of elections, has not taken off.

To add insult to injury, he gives them a few pairs of scissors and a couple of iron boxes used for pressing clothes and displays them as symbols of their progress! Under Rajanna Rajyam, we will show him what progress and development for BCs actually mean.

A representative of an NGO which works for HIV victims met me near Neggipudi. He told me that the TDP government had no compassion even for AIDS victims. He expressed his anguish that even these patients were not given their share of medicines. He recalled that in the past, governments had worked to create awareness about HIV and had ensured supply of medicines for the victims. From the time that Chandrababu Naidu came to power, things have changed dramatically, he said.  Medicines had become scarce and there was no awareness drive. To deny these patients their medicines is truly unpardonable. How inhuman can a government be!

I have a question for the chief minister—today while you embark on your protest (Nava Nirmana Deeksha) and rededicate yourself to the development of the state, you said that Neeru Chettu and Polavaram, are matters of discussion and debate. What kind of debate would you like to have? What would you like to discuss? Would you like to discuss how lakes were dug up indiscriminately for sand? Would you like to discuss the depleting groundwater table problem? Would you like to debate the issue of how thousands of crores have been looted by digging up these lakes? Would you like to take up for discussion the scam surrounding Polavaram which was meant to be a national project and which has now become a scandal for the state and an albatross around its neck?

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