ANDHRA PRADESH

Srihari in fresh row

WARANGAL SEPT. 6. Humiliated at the remarks made by the Major Irrigation Minister, Kadiam Srihari, at a review meeting held on Friday, the District Water Management Agency (DWMA) Project Director, D. Rajesham, has gone on long leave, taking the district administration by surprise.

According to sources, the Minister made uncharitable remarks against the officer demanding release of rice under the Food-for-work programme which was closed long ago. Earlier, public representatives submitted works to the tune of 56,000 tonnes of rice.

Going by the allegations of irregularities, the then district Collector, K. Prabhakar Reddy, asked officials to enquire into the veracity of claims. After a thorough enquiry, it was found that works to the tune of 22,000 tonnes were executed. However, there was demand for an additional 14,000 tonnes of rice, which officials contend as false claims.

The Minister and other public representatives were bent upon release of rice. Under the pressure, the officials allocated 20,000 tonnes of rice for the scheme that was already closed despite a Government order not to divert the rice meant for execution of SGRY works. However, the demand persisted.

"You are not listening to me. If you want to do what I say, be here else go to other district. Is it your property that we are asking for?'' the Minister chided the official in the presence of other officers.

Mr. Rajesham, a former Indian Air Force personnel, worked for over four years in Chittoor district and earned praise of the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, for his honesty and discipline.

This is the second incident involving Mr. Srihari. Earlier, the Kakatiya University Vice-Chancellor, Chandrakanth Kokate, submitted his resignation following allegedly insulting remarks from the Minister.

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