People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 28, 2007
Probe Irregularities In Indiramma Housing Programme
V Srinivasa Rao being arrested by the police at Ongole on October 23.
M Venugopala Rao
LED by the CPI(M), the poor people, especially women, have been agitating in several districts against corruption and irregularities in the implementation of Indiramma housing programme of the Congress government. They demanded the government to remove the names of ineligible people and include those who were eligible in the lists of beneficiaries of the programme and sanction a loan of Rs 80,000 for construction of each house and allocation of houses or house sites to all eligible people. Leaders of the CPI(M) had submitted details of irregularities committed in the implementation of the programme, names of ineligible people included and those of eligible people removed from the lists of beneficiaries in several districts. They demanded the government to order an enquiry into the irregularities committed and to take corrective measures.
Dharnas with these demands were held at the municipal offices at Chittoor, Madanapalli, Tirupathi rural, Srikalahasthi, Palamaneru and Punganur in Chittoor district. Even while it was raining, the poor people conducted dharna for more than one and a half hours at the office of the Nellore district collector. The poor people conducted agitations in Udayagiri, Marripadu, Atmakur, Kodavalur, Chillakur and Gudur mandals. In Cuddapah, leaders of the CPI(M) submitted a list of 273 ineligible people who were included in the lists of beneficiaries of Indiramma programme in three divisions in the town to the district collector. They said one more list of ineligible people would be submitted later. Demanding allotment of house sites to eligible people in villages where Indiramma programme was being implemented, the poor people conducted dharnas at Machilipatnam, the head quarter of Krishna district, and office of the Tahsildar at Nandigama.
When the poor led by the CPI(M) laid siege to the municipal office in Ongole in Prakasam district demanding allocation of house sites and houses, the police resorted to lathi charge, and arrested V Srinivasa Rao, member of the Central Secretariat of the CPI(M), and several others on October 23, 2007. Charged under non-bailable sections, they were remanded to custody till November 6, 2007 and sent to jail. The police chased the agitating women away. Abusing several workers, the police dragged them to the nearby police station. Hundreds of women coming from different wards in the town laid siege to the municipal office, demanding the authorities to include the names of the eligible people who were not enrolled in the lists of beneficiaries in the first and second phases of Indiramma programme. Speaking on the occasion, Srinivasa Rao accused the chief minister, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy of cheating the people in the name of Indiramma and Rajeev and going back on the promises made during the elections to the poor people about sanctioning of houses sites. A situation was emerging where the beneficiaries of Indiramma programme, unable to repay the debts incurred for construction of houses under the programme, were on the verge of committing suicides, he said. It was revealed in the surveys of beneficiaries that injustice was done to the poor, Srinivasa Rao explained. In Ongole, while there were four thousand eligible people, houses were sanctioned to 800 people only, he said. He demanded the government to sanction house sites at least. When the municipal chairman, B Hanumantha Rao, was explaining the position to the agitators, the police forcibly sent him inside and resorted to arrests of the leaders of the CPI(M) and lathi charge. In Prakasham district, the poor laid seige to mandal offices at Markapur, Singarayakonda, Maddipadu and Santanutalapadu also. In East Godavari district, the tribals laid seige to the mandal offices at Ramapachodavaram, Addateegala, Gangavaram, Devipatnam and Rajavommangi, demanding solution to the land issues.