Kolanka, East Godavari District: My Padayatra progressed today amidst thousands of people on the Balayogi bridge on the river Goutami. Instead of losing precious river water which flows into the sea, how useful it would be to have irrigation projects which would then cater to the agricultural and drinking water needs of people of the region.
The palpable anger against oil companies operating in this area for neglecting the welfare of the local people, in connivance with TDP leaders, is a widely known fact. Workers’ union representatives lamented that instead of standing by the workers and supporting them while these oil companies eased out hundreds of employees, the TDP leaders were hand in glove with the managements of oil firms.
In the past, when workers took up a protest fast for 145 days after losing their jobs, the TDP MPs and legislators assured them of justice and gave false promises. They offered lime juice to the protesting workers, assuring them of justice. Later, they forgot all about the workers and their jobs. “Isn’t this rank deception?“ asked the workers. Betraying these workers instead of trying to help them and resolve their problems is unpardonable.
Fishermen belonging to Mummidivaram complained that while the oil companies were located in the area, the focus of development was Yanam. “Anna, be it compensation from oil companies to families of fishermen, development funds or other benefits, people of Yanam get precedence over us,” they lamented. “The sole reason for this is that our MP and MLAs have no sincerity and indulge in politics of compromise. They have pledged our interest and welfare for their own selfish benefits," they complained. They were furious that they were being punished for having elected these leaders.
The minute I stepped into Yanam, I was accorded a grand reception. An imposing 18-foot tall statue of my father the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, stood there—a symbol of the gratitude people had towards him. I felt immensely proud to learn about the manner in which he resolved their drinking water problem. At a time when the people of the region were reeling under a crisis, my father had allocated 55 acres for a reservoir and had ensured that water from Dhawaleswaram was diverted to quench the thirst of the people of Yanam.
My Padayatra entered Ramachandrapuram after having crossed Konaseema. Behind the natural, scenic beauty of the region, there was restlessness in the people on account of the neglect by the TDP government. Aqua farmers were being cheated by middlemen, agriculturists did not get water for their crops, farmers did not get the benefit of a minimum support price from the government, coconut farmers had a range of problems, even with the Godavari flowing from near the area, local residents had no access to drinking water, unemployment was rampant and poverty, pervasive. As for people in the island villages (Lankas) in the region, they were cut off from the outside world. People were forced to migrate to Gulf countries on account of raging unemployment here. As long as the rulers remained insensitive to the suffering of the people here, the situation was unlikely to improve. It was clear that the TDP had neglected them totally.
I have a question for the chief minister—what happened to your promise to ensure compensation to the fishermen from oil companies? Is it not true that the compensation stopped only after you came to power? Is it not a fact that funds from oil companies decreased after you took office and correspondingly development took a back seat? Can you deny the fact that the people here lost their jobs after the TDP came to power? What is your response to the widespread grievance of the local villagers that you have pledged their welfare for your own selfish interests?