KCR ‘launches’ Dalit Bandhu in adopted village Vasalamarri, why?

Hyderabad: Telangana government on Thursday issued an order sanctioning Rs 7.6 crore for all 76 SC families in Vasalamarri village of Bhongir district towards maiden contribution for the implementation of Dalit Bandhu scheme in the state.

The GO issued by the Scheduled Castes development department permitted Telangana Scheduled Castes Co-operative Development Corporation (TSCCDC) to release Rs 7.60 crore to the district collector for implementation of the program for the benefit of around 76 Dalit households in Vasalamarri gram panchayat of Alair Assembly constituency.

This order comes after chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao visited the village, which he had earlier adopted, and said that the scheme’s launch in Huzurabad is merely a ‘formality’.

The state cabinet had earlier decided to implement the scheme on a pilot basis in Huzurabad from August 16, after an awareness meeting was conducted with the representatives of the poll-bound constituency on July 26.

“All the Dalit families in Vasalamarri will get ₹10 lakh starting Thursday. Program launch in Huzurabad on August 16 will only be a formality,” KCR said, springing a surprise.

Why Vasalamarri?

Vasalamarri, which is located about 15 km from KCR’s farmhouse at Erravelli in Siddipet district, was adopted by the chief minister in November last. He had then promised all support for its development.

Shifting Dalit Bandhu’s maiden launch from Huzurabad to Vasalamarri is being seen as a move to escape criticism from the opposition, who alleged that KCR was seeking political mileage through the scheme.

But KCR had not denied those allegations. “The TRS is a 100 per cent political party and when a scheme is launched, we expect to derive political mileage out of it. Why should we not do so when those who don’t have the power are trying to gain political advantage?” he had asked.

Earlier last week, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition in the high court challenged the implementation of Dalit Bandhu in the Huzurabad constituency, citing by-elections can be held anytime soon.

The plea, filed by social activist Akkala Suresh Kumar, sought HC’s direction to the state government in enforcing the scheme in any of the 16 assembly constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes in the State, instead of Huzurabad which is an open Assembly seat.

The high court, however, refused to take up the hearing of PIL immediately. Meanwhile, KCR had shifted the launch to Vasalamarri.

A Hyderabad-based civil society organization Forum for Good Governance (FGG) too wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking postponement of Dalit Bandhu in Huzurabad, which is purportedly being used for political gains.

KCR’s visit to Vasalamarri

In his visit to his adopted village on Wednesday, KCR has toured the Dalita vaadas (colonies where Dalits reside) for three hours and spoke to the families about their problems. He visited about 60 houses in the colony on foot, went inside and inquired about their well-being and family situation.

Besides assuring Dalit Bandhu benefits, KCR said 2-BHK houses would be sanctioned to the homeless in the village and promised sanction of surplus 100 acre land in the village to Dalit families.

He also directed Yadadri district collector to sanction pensions to the eligible.