Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Lambasting successive governments for neglecting tribals, Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi on Sunday promised, if elected to power, an integrated programme for their all-round development.

Addressing a moderately-attended ‘Girijan sadassu’ organised by the party at Khajaguda, on the city outskirts, he said that while finalising the programme, he would ensure improvement of the existing tribal welfare schemes.

He accepted that there were several programmes, the benefits were not reaching the targeted sections. Alleging that corruption had eaten into every government programme, he said it was a major impediment to development of the underprivileged sections of society.

Mr. Chiranjeevi recalled that while tribals were entitled to a 6.6 per cent allocation in the budget, in no year had the actual expenditure crossed two-three per cent. And here too, corruption ensured that even lesser amounts were actually spent on tribal welfare.

Separate commissions

He said if elected to power, the party would ensure that the separate commissions for STs and SCs as existing at the Central level were replicated at the State level for sharper focus and integrated development. Also, the PR would work towards total implementation of Act 1/70 which gives land rights to tribals.

He expressed anguish that thousands of tribals were dying each year of viral fevers and denial of basic civic amenities.