Hyderabad/Huzurnagar: Congress MP & former TPCC President Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that TRS MLAs and their followers have become commission agents for the ‘Dalit Bandhu’ scheme.
He was addressing a press conference in his office at Huzurnagar after conducting a meeting with all Sarpanches of the Suryapet district on Monday. During the meeting, the Sarpanches demanded that the beneficiaries of Dalit Bandhu be selected through Gram Sabhas. Similarly, the power to identify beneficiaries of the proposed Girijan Bandhu scheme must be given to the Gram Sabhas across Telangana State.
The scheme provides one-time capital assistance of Rs.10 lakhs per SC family for all eligible families as a 100% grant/subsidy to establish suitable income-generating schemes without bank loan linkage.
Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that the Dalit Bandhu scheme was benefiting non-Dalit TRS functionaries, more than the Dalits as they are collecting huge commissions. He said TRS MLAs, MPs, MLCs and other functionaries were allegedly collecting commissions of Rs 2-5 Lakh to 5 Lakh from the beneficiaries. Consequently, he said the poor eligible SC families were either being neglected or being forced to pay huge bribes. The scheme is not empowering the poor Dalits, but making the TRS leaders richer, he alleged.
The Nalgonda MP said that the Gram Panchayats should be actively involved in the identification of deserving beneficiaries. He said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao should seriously look into the allegations if he was more concerned about the economic empowerment of Dalits than his party workers.
Uttam Kumar Reddy informed that the Sarpanches, during the meeting, complained of harassment and discrimination by the TRS Govt. He said that the Sarpanches, MPPs, MPTCs, ZPTCs, ZP Chairmen, municipal councillors and corporators were being insulted by the TRS Govt. They are not being given due value, respect and funds. He said that the State Government was not releasing the pending dues to Gram Panchayats. He said some dues were pending for the last several years.
The Nalgonda MP also complained about excessive political interference by the TRS leaders in the functioning of Gram Panchayats. He said that the Gram Panchayats were not allowed to decide on their own. TRS MLAs have adopted a dictatorial attitude in their constituencies. He said that situation was worse for the Sarpanches belonging to opposition parties. He said Sarpanches of Congress and other parties were being threatened with removal and other action by the ruling party.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the development of villages and rural areas was not possible without empowering the Gram Panchayats. He said the suppression of Gram Panchayats and encroachment in their jurisdiction was illegal and a violation of the Gram Panchayat Act. He demanded that the TRS Govt restore the powers of Sarpanches and also involve the Gram Panchayats in the implementation of schemes, including Dalit Bandhu.