TDP Govt Has Neglected Women SHGs

AP Leader of Oppositon YS Jagan Mohan Reddy - Sakshi Post

Vedireswaram, East Godavari District: The holy month of Ramadan symbolises harmony, love, togetherness, compassion, spiritual cleansing and charity. I pray that my Muslim friends celebrate Eid with customary gaiety, fervour, festivities and love. May Almighty Allah bless them with long years of happiness, prosperity and togetherness!

In village after village, I saw statues of Sir Arthur Cotton, who had built the Godavari barrage, banishing drought and turning this entire region into what we see as the green, fertile belt of Kona Seema today. This alone shows us the importance of irrigation projects which are considered a lifeline for any such region. Against this backdrop, if rulers of the day not only neglect irrigation projects, but turn them into sources of corruption, they will go down in history as examples of misrule and mal-administration.

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Yesterday, I sampled the delicate sweetness of Pootharekhulu prepared by the women of Athreyapuram. Today, thanks to women here, I could taste Mamidi Taandra or locally prepared mango jelly. The amazing culinary skills of the women of this region leave you enthralled. At the same time I learnt about the hard labour which went into the making of this jelly.  I came to know that while this mango jelly provided livelihood to hundreds of families in Athreyapuram, the village had no storage facilities and marketing was a serious problem. The women lamented that investment and transportation charges had gone up. Added to this, GST compounded their problem.Yet, the government of the day did nothing to help them in any way.

Further along the way, women from the village of Narkedimilli met me. Women from this village are renowned for their skills in the preparation of chutneys (Pachhadis) which they showed me. However, they were struggling to make a living in spite of working very hard because of the taxes imposed on them by the government, as also the harassment they suffered at the hands of officials. While I felt proud of the fact that these women had placed these tiny villages on the world map through their skill and hard work, at the same time I felt deeply disturbed by the lack of encouragement, or the negligence rather, shown by the TDP government towards them.

These groups of women told me in an agitated tone that such rare skills of cooking would soon become extinct if the current state of affairs persists.  They recalled the contribution of my father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy and how he helped them through providing interest-free loans, strengthening self-help groups, giving them ID cards, setting up DWCRA bazaars, creating marketing avenues and a host of other measures.

They were visibly angry that Chandrababu Naidu, in contrast, promised loan waivers to them and left them high and dry. Banks are now hounding them, treating them as defaulters, they said, ruining the cottage industry here.

On the one hand, Chandrababu Naidu says that he is travelling to Singapore Japan and other countries to woo industrialists and investors. He brags that lakhs of jobs, lakhs of crores of investments and thousands of industries have been brought to Andhra Pradesh.  He speaks of concessions to non-existent and proxy companies and has forced the poor to part with their precious land which he gifted at throwaway rates to these entities.  On the other hand, he has completely neglected the local cottage industries.

I have a question for the chief minister—you make tall claims about lakhs of crores of investments, millions of jobs and thousands of industries in Andhra Pradesh!  Are you not responsible for the abject neglect of the local cottage industries, which provide employment to thousands, represented by these women here? How can you remain blind and insensitive to their suffering?

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