In Andhra Pradesh government several Welfare schemes launched for the public and getting praised but a sort of discomfort is noticed in beneficiaries and it is creating unrest. Will this unrest becomes the hurdle for Jaganmohan Reddy’s popularity in coming days. Let’s find out.

Palpable discomfort among sections of the public over politically-influenced stances of the Jaganmohan Reddy government on vital issues such as the One Time Settlement scheme relating to housing beneficiaries, growing dissatisfaction among government employees over delay in the implementation of the Pay Revision Commission recommendations, and sub-optimal performance of the state government in tackling the grim floods which had claimed at least 60 lives of people in different parts of the state has sent danger signals to powers that be.

Various sections of people in Andhra Pradesh have felt the pinch over the questionable attitude of the state government. Central to it is a grave fact that there is acute shortage of funds for taking up developmental works.  Poor and middle class people who had benefited from housing programmes taken up by previous governments over the years have not been spared under OTS.

With the state government desperately looking for ways to pool funds even for its routine programmes, anything it contemplates on the finance front becomes suspect. This explains why there are intractable issues with regard to OTS, which initially appeared to have come to the rescue of the government in fund raising. Even those houses that were sanctioned with loans sanctioned during the regime of N.T. Rama Rao appear in the lists meant for OTS.

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The task of collecting money from the housing beneficiaries under OTS has been entrusted to the staff working in village secretariats. They have been given daily targets for collecting money under OTS. This has sparked other issues relating to certificates needed by those beneficiaries. Hence, there was chaos when the official staff approached the beneficiaries.

The shocked beneficiaries questioned the propriety of the government in asking money under OTS for the houses that they got from previous governments. Instead of giving money, some of the beneficiaries, in utter frustration, offered to the collection staff asbestos sheets, slab, stones, doors and windows from their houses. One angry beneficiary described the implementation of OTS as “nothing but performing my marriage with my own wife”.

Oral instructions reportedly given by a mandal development officer to lower level staff on fixing of targets for collection of money under OTS seem to have sent shock waves to the housing beneficiaries as well as the general public.

This incident came to light when Telugu Desam Party leaders aired audio clips of purported telephonic conversations of that particular officer with lower level staff of the village secretariat. One Minister made a vain attempt to establish that people are voluntarily paying OTS.

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At last, the government stated that only Rs.4000-crore dues relating to housing loans under OTS would come to the state exchequer, following which the authorities would provide registration for the houses of the beneficiaries. The TDP questioned the propriety of the government in collecting dues from people under OTS, considering that the present regime did not provide land, loans for the housing programmes executed by previous governments.

YSR Congress party had assured free registration to those housing beneficiaries, but the YSRC government is committed to collect dues under OTS. Regardless of the merit of the Jagan government’s decision, the OTS payment has become an unbearable burden for countless beneficiaries. It has also triggered fears of non-receipt of benefits of government schemes and terminal benefits, including pensions and caste certificates, should they not agree to payment under OTS.

Government employees have been raising their voices for the immediate implementation of PRC. Claiming to be a force to reckon with as voters, they boast that they could unseat the present regime. They do hope that the PRC would be implemented soon.

History bears witness to the adamant attitude of employees who went on an indefinite strike that lasted 64 days during the regime of the Congress’ towering personality in undivided Andhra Pradesh Kasu Brahmananda Reddy in the mid ’60s. The State government employees then played a crucial role in the change of gaurd in the 2004 elections during Chandrababu Naidu’s rule as well!

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Inept handling of the flood situation in various districts of AP has also dented the image of the government. The unprecedented floods claimed 60 precious lives of people in different parts of the state. The breaching of Annamayya project in Chittoor district brought worst ever tragedy for people in its vicinity. The Centre expressed its view that the AP government was not alert enough to handle the grim flood situation and questioned as to whose responsibility it was to operate the project.

Interestingly, AP Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav went on to claim that Union Minister for Jalshakti Gajendra Singh Shekawat ‘lied’ in Parliament on the subject. The issue may get political colour once the central expert committee pays a visit to the Annamayya project for inspection, ‘case study’ or whatever. If it comes out with a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ on water management, it may sound as disrespect to the AP government.

The foregoing issues give room for a lot of embarrassment for the AP government. It may not be easy for it to deflect public resentment. These developments may become hurdles for the ruling party to drum beat its case for retaining power.

It is a different matter that Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has started planning for retaining power in the 2023 polls. #KhabarLive #hydnews