Staff Reporter

Officials denying us a chance to speak, allege widows of weavers

Government providing benefits to a select few

Some yet to receive aid even after two years

KARIMNAGAR: Pandemonium prevailed for sometime at a meeting convened by the Parliament Standing Committee on Labour to study the plight of distressed powerloom weavers in Sircilla town on Sunday when some widows protested against the handlooms and textiles officials for denying them a chance to express their grievance.

Committee chairman Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, MPs -- Shanthasri Chatterjee, C.S. Sujatha, Kamala Prasad Rawath, Rudra Narayana Phani, Renubala Pradhan, K. Chandran Pillai and Chandra Prakash Raju -- Lok Sabha secretariat joint secretary Brahma Dutt, deputy secretary N. K. Pandey, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Textiles, Bhupendra Singh, Director State Handloom and Textiles, Srinivas I. Naresh and others visited Sircilla town to get first hand information about the plight of powerloom weavers.

When CPI (M) leader Pantham Ravi alleged that the government had failed to provide ex gratia to majority of widows on the pretext of non-availability of police FIR and other reasons, a few women protested against the officials for denying them the opportunity to express their grievance.

The widows alleged that the administration was providing all sops and benefits to families, which had secured the ex gratia of Rs 1.5 lakh and denying the same to other families.

They alleged that the authorities forced them to sit in the back during the panel’s visit. Radha, a widow said that she lost her husband two years ago but had not received any assistance from the government such as ex-gratia, widow pension, house etc.

Vidya, another widow of Venkatesham, alleged that the government was providing benefits to only selected few and denying the same to the families of other weavers, who had committed suicide due to unemployment and debts.

She said her children were forced to work as labourers to eke out a livelihood.