Hyderabad, March 9
THE opposition Telugu Desam and Bharatiya Janata Party members staged a walkout from the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Wednesday in protest against what they termed as the indifferent attitude of the State Government towards the plight of handloom weavers.
Stating that 249 handloom weavers have either committed suicide or died of starvation in the State, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, deplored that it was unfortunate that the Government was not extending handloom weavers what was being provided to the family members of the farmers who have committed suicide.
The Government was providing Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the farmers who have committed suicide out of distress following crop loss.
Mr Naidu had also found fault with the Government for making a budgetary allocation of only Rs 76 crore to the handloom sector for the year 2005-06 as against Rs 300 crore promised by the ruling Congress party.
Earlier, replying to a question raised by Mr T. Gopala Krishna and other members during the question hour, the Minister for Rural Development, Mr D. Srinivas, said it was a fact that several handloom workers have lost their employment and many handloom societies have become sick in the State.
Keeping this in view, the Minister said that the Government had taken various measures in the past nine months for the welfare of handloom weavers and to strengthen the handloom industry.
These included release of Rs 10 crore to the State Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society, purchase of Rs 31.88 crore worth handloom stocks from cooperatives by APCO, organisation of 32 handloom expos and opening of two new showrooms by APCO.
Later, addressing a press conference, Mr M. Hanumantha Rao and other Congress legislators alleged that the handloom sector had received a major setback during the previous Telugu Desam Party rule.
Though they felt that the sector had received a fillip during the current Congress regime, they wanted implementation of the 11 types of reservations made earlier for handloom products.