Activists and leaders of Dalita Hakkula Porata Samiti (DHPS), A.P. Vyavasayika Karmika Sangham, and A.P. Girijana Samaikya held a demonstration at the Collectorate here on Monday in protest against massive diversion of funds meant for SC,ST welfare and development under the special component plan (SCP).

Funds allocated for SC, ST welfare in the State budget were being diverted to other general schemes and projects in gross violation of the spirit of SCP, they allege. Dalit and Girijan organisations had been raising the issue at different forums and fighting against such violations for quite some time but their agitations had remained a cry in the wilderness, the leaders said.

They were of the view that SC and ST MLAs were unable to champion their own communities' cause as they were all scattered in different political parties and could not take on their leadership on this score due to clash of interests both political and party wise.

The forum leaders and MLAs had been assured of justice by former Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu and Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and present Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy but none of the assurances were fulfilled, .

The leaders said a solution to this problem lay in a protracted struggle for which the multiple organisations in the State were gearing up. DHPS district secretary B. Venkatarao said during the past two decades Rs.21,609 crore of SC funds and Rs.5,000 crore of ST funds had been diverted from among the allocated funds.

In the current 2011-12 budget of Rs.470 crore had been diverted from the allotted funds of Rs.7,704 crore. Similarly, under the ST sub-plan Rs.326 crore had been diverted to other projects.

The government had been using the diverted funds for outer ring road and Hussein Sagar modernisation projects and several other schemes. The government was violating its own order issued in 1980 creating an SC,ST sub-plan component fund exclusively for the economic emancipation of the socially backward sections.

Vyvasaya Karmika Sangam district president Shivalanka Kondala Rao and Girijana Samaikya district secretary Bushanam demanded that government should not allow the unspent funds allocated in the budget to lapse but must be added to the next year budget.