Gajapathinagaram, Vizianagaram district: Till yesterday, it was hot and humid and the weather today changed dramatically. On account of the Depression at sea, it cooled down a lot suddenly. But there was heartburn everywhere when it came to the masses. Their suffering and day-to-day problems continued unabated.
A number of old people came and met me today. They were rendered infirm by age—many of them could barely see, or walk and yet, they came with great difficulty to see me and to pour out their woes to me.
Their problems were many, “children do not take care of me and I don’t get any pension," said 80 year old Lachamma with moist eyes. My heart went out to her. There were so many such elderly for whom life had become a burden and who were abandoned by their children. If they get their pensions and ration, day to day life becomes less burdensome for them. Can’t the government see this?
A group of farmers met me near the village, Lingalavalasa. They lamented that their fields did not get any water for irrigation because work on the Thotapalli project had come to a standstill. They expressed anguish about the TDP government’s indifference on this count. It is indeed a tragedy that the Chandrababu Naidu government did not pay any attention to the needs of farmers of this region and neglected their condition completely.
Bangaru Nayudanna lamented that he had borrowed Rs.53,000 as crop loan before the 2014 elections in the hope that it would be waived, as promised by the TDP. He regretted having done so because with Chandrababu going back on his promise, the interest rate had mounted, he complained.
To complicate their lives further, right after the elections, farmers were hit by the Hud Hud cyclone. His crop over 5 acres was destroyed completely, with no compensation for the loss. If this is not an anti-farmer government, then what is? While this is the reality at the village level, our chief minister brags about awards for his contribution to farming!
Along the way I came across the pathetic sight of the river, Edompulagedda, a truly sad sight to behold. There was no sand to be seen anywhere. The entire river bed has been reduced to a cluster of craters. The sand mafia had indulged in indiscriminate excavation leading to this situation. They dug up sand along the river bed day and night. Rivers, streams and lakes turned into huge tracts of arid regions and ground water levels dipped sharply at an alarming rate.
Pharmacists who had no avenue of employment narrated their problems to me today. Arogya Mitras told me that the government wanted to terminate their services as per a design, for no other reason but because they had been appointed by the government of Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
I received hundreds of complaints about congested roads, lack of drainage facilities, absence of sanitation and civic amenities and pothole-ridden roads in Gajapathinagagaram.
This evening, I saw for myself the pathetic state of affairs here. Rain brings sewage on to the streets and disease becomes pervasive in many forms, people said. On the eve of elections, TDP leaders had proudly proclaimed that they would revamp the drainage system and build a bypass road. They haven’t bothered about local problems at all in these four and a half years. Meanwhile, elections are around the corner and they are ready to come back with the same set of commitments and assurances once again.
I have a question for the chief minister— is it not true that 90% of the work on Thotapalli project had been completed when you assumed office? Why did you not get the remaining 10% of the work on this project completed in these four and a half years? Is it not true that more than one lakh 35,000 acres should have been irrigated by this project and today, less than 80,000 acres get water for irrigation? Are you not squarely responsible for this?