Chennanaidupeta, Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Nellore District: Over the past 68 days, my Padayatra has proceeded through YSR, Kurnool, Anantapur, and Chittoor districts. For decades these four districts have been languishing in dire poverty. The problems people have faced in this region are beyond description. Added to that, nature also has been very unkind to this area making life even more complex for the common man. Rulers have been indifferent for the most part and what is worse is that in some cases, many of the problems have been created by the rulers themselves. Everyday existence is a battle for survival for the people of this region who are tormented by countless problems. Instead of standing by them and leading them to a better future, today, the government itself is creating problems for them. When the fence eats the crop, what is the fate of the common man? Who will he turn to?
I stepped into Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Nellore district, celebrated for social awareness among women. This was the first district in which women demanded a ban on liquor and raised their voices in protest against consumption of alcohol. I stepped into this district to a very warm reception.
Girl students from Chemberu village met me and told me the difficult circumstances under which they had to pursue basic education. Poornima, a ninth standard student told me, “Anna there is no bus service to our village and teachers find it as difficult as we do to reach our village. We feel scared to attend special classes in the evening because there are no streetlights and the roads are almost non-existent. Drunken youth harass girls. The toilets in the school are not worth speaking about, the mid-day meal is inedible. Though most of the girls wish to study, several have dropped out because of all these problems. Our parents cannot afford to send us to private schools”
I felt deeply pained when I heard Poornima narrate her plight at length to me. Hers is the story of countless girl students across Andhra Pradesh and the thought left me deeply disturbed, while at the same time, their enthusiasm to study was truly inspiring. Their courage to battle difficult circumstances was commendable and their determination to seek a solution to their problems was praiseworthy. Asha workers from the health care centre in the same village met me and said, “Sir, we have been participating in all the programs and activities including those related to the health of women and children. The meagre amount of Rs.500 to 700 is also not being paid to us. If it is being paid at all, it comes once in 3 to 4 months. Compared to our situation, our counterparts in neighbouring states are being paid as much as Rs.6000. Our plight is worse than that of daily wage labourers,” they lamented.
I also met workers from 108 and 104 services who told me that they faced a host of problems and that the TDP government remained completely insensitive to their condition. When the government is indifferent to critical sectors like education and healthcare and when it colludes with crony capitalists, what justice can one expect? To expect such a government to do its duty expected in the normal course, is something out of the ordinary, strange as it may seem. I assured the workers of the 108 and 104 services that this mission will fulfil the objectives for which it was established by my father, the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy. I will strive to better their condition and will walk extra mile to do so.
This, in brief, sums up my Padayatra in Nellore district today which is known globally for the Sri Harikota Space Centre, Pulicat lake and Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary, among several other things. I walked from Sullurupeta constituency today and as I moved on, a question to the chief minister came to me. You have been claiming that in your 40 years of political life, the past four years have proved to be extremely satisfactory for you. People everywhere have the contrary tale to tell about their day-to-day lives. How do you explain this to contrast—the suffering that people have been experiencing every day for the past four years and the satisfaction you claim you have derived the most in your career spanning 40 years, in these four years?