ANDHRA PRADESH

`Revise G.O. on relief to kin of suicide victims: BJP

VISAKHAPATNAM, OCT. 11. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the State Government to withdraw G.O. Ms.No.421 issued on June 1 for extending relief package to the families of farmers who had committed suicide and sought a revised order to include artisans and weavers under the scheme.

The former Union Minister, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, told reporters on Monday that the Government issued the order to extend ex gratia of Rs. 1 lakh and loan settlement up to Rs. 50,000 to only farmers. A comprehensive G.O. should be issued by scrapping the existing one, so that the benefit would also reach traditional artisans and weavers.

"Collectors, MROs and other officials should also have accountability. Hence, the new G.O. should fix up the responsibility for continuation of spate of suicides," he stated.

Mr. Rao, who was here as part of the party's programme to console the bereaved families of farmers in north Andhra districts due to continuous crop failure said, "Our party is not happy with the way the Congress Government is implementing the G.O."

White paper

Seeking a white paper on the way the G.O. was being implemented, he alleged that as per their information the benefit was not being extended to the families of farmers, who died during the TDP rule. He noted that the G.O. had set July 1, 1998, as the cut-off date for getting relief.

The white paper should also contain details regarding the help being extended by `Helpline' set up at various places and the reasons for which a large number of farmers were committing suicide after the change of Government.

He said the situation had come to such a pass that poor weavers and artisans in districts like Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar and parts of Rayalaseema were dying after entering into a family pact due to the distress situation.

Referring to the Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy's announcement to revise the guidelines for the Food-for-work programme, Mr. Rao said Dr. Reddy should promulgate an ordinance to guarantee employment in rural areas. Even the Prime Minister had promised 100 days of employment. "But the fact is that the Centre wants to call it 100 days of rural employment assurance programme. It makes no sense unless it is named as rural employment guarantee programme," he remarked.

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