Vallapuram Cross, Vizianagaram district: Today, my Padayatra began from Moola Station and passed through SSR Peta, Manyapuripeta and Bellanapeta. Interestingly, I stopped for the night exactly opposite to where my father on his Padayatra in 2003, and my sister Sharmila, ten years later on her walkathon, rested for the day. I spent the entire day walking along the overcrowded highway amidst milling crowds. The road was narrow and because of the swarming numbers of people, cramped for space. Women, who were working in the fields by the road, sang folk songs about me enthusiastically and this filled me with joy. I was overwhelmed by their display of affection.

It is only when the government has a favourable policy and when the rulers are efficient and honest that investments and industries get attracted to a state.

The ferro-alloys industries here employ thousands of workers. If there are 35 such industries across the state, 16 of them are located in Vizianagaram district alone. Six of these are in Cheepurupalli constituency. All of them are dependent on power for their functioning. In fact their viability, their very survival depends on electricity. During my father’s tenure, the industry blossomed on account of the encouragement it received from the government. During his time, the government ensured the supply of quality power at a low tariff. It was because of his policy that 29 industries in the ferro-alloys sector came up. As a result, thousands of people found employment.

After my father‘s untimely demise, these industries kept closing down, one after another. Workers from these industries met me. They expressed their anguish about the lack of government support. No matter how much these rulers propagate about investments and industries, no matter how hard their propaganda machine works to portray such an image, no matter how many countries they visit spending public money, the ground reality is that unless they work with sincerity and commitment, what the state will finally get, is nothing. Volunteers of the Sakshara Bharat program told me that while it was their duty to impart adult education, they were assigned all kinds of work. To make matters worse, their services were suddenly terminated by this government.

As recently as June, the government made them work in the Nava Nirmana Deeksha. They were assigned work which was unrelated to their job. When the government itself resorts to such deception, what can be worse? Thousands of people were rendered jobless due to the insensitive attitude of the government and this saddened me deeply.

The Chandrababu Naidu government has taken political discrimination to its unparalleled extreme. Many such instances were brought to my notice today. Venkat Rao was removed as a fair price shop dealer. Adilakshmi, with a hundred percent level of blindness, is being denied pension. Venkat Lakshmi lost her Anganwadi job. The height of discrimination on the basis of political parties, is the case of an HIV affected individual from Buradayyavalasa.

I have a question for the chief minister— you have not extended concessions to industries in your time and the arrears have mounted. Even the promised incentives have not been given. You have hiked up the power tariff, as also the royalty rates. In such a scenario, how will existing industries survive and the state, attract new industries?

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