Praja Rajyam Party chief K Chiranjeevi said on Wednesday that people in Andhra Pradesh were crying for even basic needs like drinking water, while the Congress Government was making tall claims about its achievements.
“What is the use of achieving a nine per cent growth rate when people are left with parched throats? Be it the tribal areas in Adilabad district or the fertile Godavari districts, or fluoride-affected Nalgonda, lakhs of people still do not have access to safe drinking water,” Chiranjeevi said in his maiden address in the state Assembly.
The Telugu megastar, a first-time MLA, vented his anguish rather than anger over what he said sorry state of affairs and pathetic living conditions, during discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address.
In his 45-minute speech, Chiranjeevi mocked at the government’s claim of registering an annual six per cent growth in the agriculture sector.
“If that is true, why have 7,500 farmers committed suicide in the last five years. Even today, farmers are suffering as they are unable to get even the minimum support price on their produce,” the PRP leader said.
Government schools were being shut down on the pretext of low enrolment, he said. “We have to explore the reasons for poor enrolment. Children are unable to get access to good education and are ending up as child labour.”
Stating that irrigation projects were required for the development of the state, Chiranjeevi said government should prioritise the schemes instead of taking up all in one go.
As per the current estimates, a staggering Rs two lakh crore will be required to complete the 81 irrigation projects taken up by the government. Where will the money come from and how many decades will it take to complete them? asked Chiranjeevi.
The actor-turned-politician said the government could create an additional “ayacut” of only 19 lakh acres in the past five years despite the promise of creating an extra irrigation potential of one crore acres.
The area served by an irrigation project such as a canal, dam or tank is called ayacut. There was no industrial development worth the name in Andhra Pradesh in the last five years even as neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu made rapid strides, he said.
“We have got many special economic zones sanctioned but not a single major industry has come up in the state so far. The SEZs are in fact turning into realty zones.”
On Telangana, Chiranjeevi said, “Commitment is important, not the number of committees you have constituted on the issue.”
Summing up, the PRP chief promised full support to good programmes initiated by the government. “We don’t mind sitting in the Opposition if you do good to the people and the state. Otherwise, people will show you your place.”
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