Opposition walks out of Assembly

The Opposition parties including the Telugu Desam, the CPI, the CPM and the BJP walked out of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday alleging large-scale diversion of funds earmarked under SC, ST sub-plans for the state.

The Praja Rajyam and Lok Satta too registered their protest on the issue even as the Congress government was caught on the defensive.

The matter was raised by senior Congress MLA, Mr D.L. Ravindra Reddy, who pointed out that the SC, ST sub-plan was not being implemented properly in the state.

He also referred to the Planning Commission of India’s report that found fault with the state government for not utilising the sub-plan funds properly.

The MLAs from the Opposition joined chorus on the issue and cornered the government saying there was large-scale diversion of funds meant for SCs and STs.

"In the last five years more than Rs 10,000 crore earmarked under SC, ST sub-plans remained unspent. The amount spent were used for irrelevant works like construction of
Hyderabad Outer Ring Road, improvement of Hussainsagar lake, development of Krishnapatnam port and other works," said the leader of the Opposition, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Of the Rs 5,000 crore allotted for SC welfare during the current fiscal, only 32 per cent were utilised, he said.

The Praja Rajyam leader, Mr K. Chiranjeevi, lamented that SC, ST students were languishing without basic facilities in government-run hostels due to diversion of funds.

The CPI, CPM and BJP MLAs too pointed out to the gross diversion of SC, ST funds and demanded that the government come out with a clear assurance on proper utilisation of these amounts meant exclusively for welfare and development of these sections.

Mr Naidu demanded that the Chief Minister convene a meeting with SC, ST legislators to look into the issue and take immediate corrective action.

When the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, did not respond, the Opposition MLAs staged a walk out from the House while the Praja Rajyam and the Lok Satta members registered their protest.

Later, the Chief Minister criticised the Opposition parties, particularly the TD, for trying to "talk like
champions of SCs and STs."

"It is only the Congress that always cared for the welfare and development of SCs and STs and we shall remain committed to them," Mr Rosaiah said.

The leader of the House, Mrs J. Geeta Reddy, took a dig at TD saying, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others."(PTI)

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