Bangarakkapalem Crossroads, Prakasam district: I stepped into Prakasam today, having crossed Nellore district. Wherever I went in this dry, sun-scorched region, I could see poverty staring at me in the face. Every home had a tale of suffering to tell. Every life was a saga of unending sorrow.
Ademma of Pedapavani village came and met me. I was deeply moved by her sorrowful story. Her husband had become bedridden. He was a daily wage earner. Their only son was battling death, suffering from chronic kidney disease. The poor woman, driven by love for her son wanted to part with a kidney! But as fate decreed, she was suffering from cancer of the uterus. There was no hope of kidney transplantation because they were told that our Arogyasri did not apply to them. The cost of the surgery came to an estimated Rs.6 lakhs. Where can this poor woman go for help? Who will listen to her woes.
An 83-year-old woman from Singarapalem, Latchamma narrated her tragic tale. She had been running around government offices for her pension. She had not been getting her ration and when asked as to why this was so, she was told that she was being denied her supply because she had voted for the YSRCP. She had a mentally retarded grandson with whom she was spending the last years of her life. How inhuman is it to treat an old woman in this cruel manner!
Similarly, Adillakshmi told me that she had lost her son, but did not get any insurance money under Chandranna insurance (Chandranna Beema). Cheturi Bhavani, a fisherwoman, had another sad story to narrate. She had undergone a heart surgery during my father the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy‘s time. She has fallen again and requires treatment. Unfortunately, for her, they said that Arogyasri was not valid in her case.
The mother of two and a widow, has no one to turn to. With tears in her eyes she told me about her condition. Is it not the government‘s responsibility to take care of such people? Is it just on the part of the establishment to discriminate on the basis of political parties even when it comes to the right of the poorest of the poor? Is there no such thing as humanity? While I was passing by Rallapadu project near Kothapeta, the former president of the project Narasimha Rao Anna came to me and said, “Sir for four years now agricultural activity in this region was severely affected. Rains have been scanty and there is no water from the projects. Farmers are put to untold suffering. Without work and with no other means of livelihood they are migrating to other places. It was under such circumstances that your father had launched the Somasila project. After his unfortunate demise, there is no one who will listen to us, no one we can turn to. This project remains incomplete for this reason", he said. I looked at the incomplete project. Sure enough, I thought that had it been completed there would have been no problems related to fluoride contamination nor would there have been any migrations.
I read in the papers this morning, a strange announcement from the Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. He said that 80% of the jobs in industries would be given to locals. Was he in deep slumber these four years when the youth of the state remained unemployed? What about the fact that employment in local industries which was supposed to employ youth of Andhra Pradesh but employed people from other states? People of the state find jobs as watchmen and sweepers. What were you doing all this while under such circumstances Mr. Chandrababu Naidu? Now, when the people of the state hold you responsible on the issue of special category status, are you trying to deceive them once again? Are you trying to dupe the youth of the state who are seething with anger?
Didn't Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, as BJP leader say both in the Rajya Sabha, as well as in the presence of Mr. Modi, and yourself that Special Category Status would draw industries and jobs to the state? Has AP got a single concession which is given to states which are granted Special Category Status? Why did you settle for a Special Package when no such benefit accrued to AP? Are you not trying to deceive the youth of the state with elections round the corner, by saying that 80% of the jobs would be given to locals? Isn't your reaction a token response to my repeated assertions on the denial of jobs to local youth?