Rajam Colony, Srikakulam district: My padayatra today moved through Vajrapukuthooru and Palasa mandals. People from Keviti community of Nuvvularevu village met me. Ten thousand people belonging to this community live in this village. And this community was not categorized earlier. During the course of my father’s padayatra, this fact was brought to his notice. He also saw for himself the difficulties they went through. As soon as he came to power, he ensured that the community was included in the BC-A category. Recalling his gesture, members of this community met me to express their gratitude. This community has an interesting custom. Girls of marriageable age are married off in a mass marriage ceremony once in two years. Every home is liberated from the burden of huge financial expenses of marriage when these weddings happen all this once lighting up all homes. I truly feel that their social customs would serve as a source of inspiration.
For a community which depends on fishing for its livelihood, survival is becoming increasingly difficult without jetties to help them continue fishing. Middlemen control everything and deceive the fishermen whose plight is worsened by non-availability of cold storage facilities.
Student union representatives of various universities as also teachers met me this morning and told me that in over four years, the TDP government has not filled up a single post. There are over 2200 posts lying vacant in universities across the state. They described in detail how the TDP government was watering down the university system which functioned under the framework of the government. They expressed their anguish stating that seven universities in the state did not have vice-chancellors and this itself proves how negligent the Chandrababu Naidu regime is towards higher education.
On the one hand, the TDP government is diluting higher education system in the public sector and on the other, it is rolling out a red carpet to private universities. The status of the fee reimbursement scheme is no different. It is obvious that the Chandrababu Naidu government patronises corporate education at the cost of depriving the poor of it. There is an urgent need to change this situation.
Palasa is synonymous with cashew nuts. And in these parts, it is popularly known as white gold. There are about 300 cashew nut based industries in this region. Cashew nut from Palasa has acquired international reputation and is used in Tirupati Laddoos as well. Locals speak of these facts with great pride. However, behind this success story lies the dark side of the lives of the workers in these cashew nut based industries. There are about 20,000 workers in these units. During my father’s rule, cashew nut industry was brought under the cover of agri-based industry and the taxes were lowered.
However, workers point out that subsequent government did not pay any attention to their plight. They brought to notice the indifference of the government which did not consider treating the industry as a cottage industry. They said that labour laws were not applied to them. Moreover, for those who peel cashews, fingerprints gets scrubbed over a period of time and this in turn has been a reason for the government denying them welfare schemes, they lamented. To make matters worse, local TDP leaders extorted money from them, they complained.
My poser to the chief minister—You had promised at the time of elections that you would set up an agro-processing unit, cold storage, godown in ever mandal and a mega food park in every district. You had also committed yourself to establishing export processing centres and agricultural processing industries. What happened to these promises made in manifesto? Is there a single measure of benefit you can cite which your government extended to agro-based industries?