Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) will organise protests across Telangana on Friday against the Centre’s allegations on diversion of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds in the state.
The protest will be organised in all district headquarters, announced BRS working president and state Industries and Commerce Minister K. T. Rama Rao on Thursday. The party had urged farmers to join the protests.
This will be the first protest programme to be undertaken by BRS since the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) adopted the new name on December 9 to expand its activities across the country.
KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, asked the BJP-led union government to explain how construction of crop drying platforms in Telangana under the scheme could be termed against norms, when it was justified to construct fish drying platforms in other states.
The Centre had last month served a notice to Telangana government to pay Rs 151.9 crore for allegedly diverting MGNREGS funds to schemes not permitted under the Central scheme guidelines.
The BRS leader alleged that the BJP was acting against Telangana with discrimination despite the state government taking up many programmes for the welfare of farmers. He claimed that Telangana was the first state to construct the drying platforms for the benefit of farmers.
“Instead of appreciating the good work done by Telangana government, the BJP is seeking vengeance and hell bent to tarnish the image of the state government among people,” he said in a statement.
KTR wondered: “How the Centre could find fault with the state government for constructing the crop drying platforms, when it does not mind fish drying platforms being constructed in other States under the same scheme.”
He slammed the Modi government for stalling construction of 79,000 crop drying platforms in Telangana which was taken up at a cost of Rs 750 crore.
The BRS leader alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre is trying to weaken MGNERGS which was providing livelihood to scores of people across the state. He said the Centre was imposing curbs on the implementation of the scheme and resorting to cuts in its funds.
He pointed out that the BRS as well as the state government have been demanding integration of agriculture with MGNREGS but there was no response from the Centre.
“The BJP had done nothing beneficial for farmers and when the BRS government took up several revolutionary initiatives, it is unable to admit its failures,” he said and alleged that the BJP is targeting the Telangana government due to its inability to compete with the state in terms of agricultural development.
KTR said though employment opportunities in villages declined due to Covid and the rural economy plunged into crisis, the Centre had been slashing the funds under MGNREGS.
The BRS leader said the increase in fuel prices has increased the cost of cultivation and at least now the Centre should link agriculture works with the scheme to provide some relief to farmers.