Lokesh urges CM not to cancel benefits of tribals



'Open letter to CM'

Lokesh urges CM not to cancel benefits of tribals


Govt following 'hidden agenda' to cancel pensions

Ration rice should be distributed without hurdles

10 acres rule being wrongly applied against tribals


AMARAVATI (prajaamaravati): TDP National General Secretary Nara Lokesh on Friday urged Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to withdraw the decision to cancel the welfare benefits of tribals in the name of eKYC and updation of the beneficiaries' records.

Lokesh wrote an open letter to the CM here, demanding that the cancelled pensions of the aged people, widows and the differently abled tribals should be restored immediately. There was a need for ensuring uninterrupted distribution of ration rice. Also, the wrong entries in the land records should be corrected forthwith.

Decrying the Government's 'indifference', Lokesh said the people in agency areas were facing untold suffering because of negligence from the sachivalayas and gram volunteers. The grama sachivalayas have become big hurdles in extending benefits to the tribals. Consequently, they were not able to go anywhere to get solutions for their problems.

Nara Lokesh deplored that the Government was following a 'hidden agenda' in order to deprive the tribals of their welfare benefits. New conditions were being brought in to deny these benefits. The Government brought a GO to cancel welfare benefits if a tribal family had more than 10 acres land or a Government job or a vehicle. Such conditions were depriving the tribals of their benefits.

Lokesh strongly objected to the application of the rules being applied to tribals of non-scheduled areas to those living in scheduled areas also. As a result, thousands of tribals living in agency areas were losing their Government benefits. This was in violation of clause 6 in Schedule 5 of the constitution, which has laid down a clear cut difference in the rights, laws and protection rules between the Adivasis living in scheduled and non-scheduled areas.

Nara Lokesh said the new rules made the tribals in agency areas ineligible for pensions and Re 1 per kg rice. Even if Adivasis got 10 acres of land in the agency, only one to three acres would be under cultivation. A tribal family owning 10 acres of Rs. 1 Cr value in non-scheduled areas would not be able to sell land because of 1/70 act as per the 5th Schedule.

Listing out the problems of tribals, Lokesh asked how the poor tribals could live if the YSRCP Government went on removing their benefits on flimsy grounds. A tribal family owning 10 acres would be able to cultivate a maximum of three acres and they would get less than Rs. 25,000 per year. It would not be correct to remove their pensions and ration rice.

Lokesh slammed the Government for 'removing' benefits for some tribals by wrongly showing in records that they had more than 10 acres. In such instances, the Government should hand over such lands to the families concerned if they were really owners of those land banks.

Nara Lokesh termed it as unfortunate that the tribal families were denied benefits even if their members were doing Government, contract and outsourcing jobs. Such employees were going to plains and not caring about their families which were living in the hills. As the Government benefits were being removed, such families were facing a lot of suffering.

Lokesh said that the TDP regime provided 200 units of free power to tribals but this was cancelled now. Moreover, pensions and ration cards were removed for those using more than 300 units. While NTR constructed pucca houses for tribals, the Jagan regime was now forcibly collecting OTS amounts in the name of full ownership rights.