ANDHRA PRADESH

KCR echoes Cong. views on FFW `irregularities'

Hyderabad Nov 13. K. Chandrasekhara Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi has sailed with the Congress regarding drought in the State and "irregularities'' in the implementation of the Food-for-work programme, saying that whatever the main Opposition said about these two "was true.''

While participating in the continued debate on drought for the third day today in the Assembly, the TRS leader, however, focussed on the plight of Telangana, highlighting the problems particularly faced by Mahababunagar district which, according to him, had witnessed nine starvation deaths so far and migration of 10 lakh labourers.

Mr. Rao took potshots at the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, saying that stories were spread among other Chief Ministers in the country about his "wonderful'' performance and that the 8 crore Telugus would collapse if they came to know about the truths in the administration.

He sought the Government to depute senior IAS officers to the affected areas, especially Mahabubnagar district, to know the factual position and extend succour.Among the demands made by him were withdrawal of cases booked against farmers for staging dharnas at sub-stations for nine-hour power suply to pumpsets, compensation to the crops lost, especially those under Nagarjunasagar regarding which the Major Irrigation Minister, in fact, had made an announcement, release of at least 5,000 cusecs into the Nagarjunasagar Left Canal, arrangements for supply of fodder and water to cattle, white cards to eligible families, and waiver of electricity bills.

Representing the Congress, V. Purushottama Reddy and D. S. Redya Naik, reiterated the known Congress demands -- compensation for damaged crops varying from Rs. 2,000-3000 per acre for paddy to Rs 5,000 for mirchi.

Compensation was also sought for non-supply of power during the stipulated nine hours, waiver of power bills and interest on crop loans, and scrapping of fee in schools and colleges in the affected areas.

Mr. Reddy poked fun at the exaggerations which were in circulation in foreign countries, including the U.S., about the performance of the Chief Minister and of his achievements such as "pucca roads everywhere,'' "24-hour power supply all over the State,'' and "completed pending projects'' which, however, were all false. He recalled a couplet from Kaloji Narayana Rao (who passed away earlier in the day) "flames of hunger on one side and heaps of food on another''.

He laughed at the fate of Ministers whom no official heard, much less their own departmental heads, and MLAs who were not cared even by an ordinary SI.

He regretted that rice worth Rs. 3,200 crores which was received from the Centre under the Food-for-work programme was "abused and misused'' and contended that no systematic method was followed for implementation.

Mr. Purushottama Reddy felt that the State Government was doing "tamasha'' by projecting all Central schemes as its own by rechristening them. The best example was Velugu. There was also duplicity of schemes, he said, referring to Roshni the meaning of which was also "light (Velugu). Two TD members -- P. Raghunatha Reddy and D. Shivram -- defended the Government.

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