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Sonia has close brush with realities, checks vegetable prices

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had a close brush with hard realities vis-a-vis the implementation of various central government schemes as she went from village to village to take stock of ground realities, reports Umesh Raghuvanshi.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2009 21:21 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had a close brush with hard realities vis-a-vis the implementation of various central government schemes as she went from village to village to take stock of ground realities. She also tried to sense the people's pulse checking the prices of vegetables at a roadside village market in Rae Bareli her Lok Sabha constituency.

There were complaints galore as Sonia arrived on a two-day tour to her constituency making unscheduled stops to take a first hand account of the implementation of NREGA, Mid Day Meal scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme and Indira Gandhi Avas Yojana etc.

She summoned officials and sought a report on the complaints by Saturday morning when she is scheduled to preside over a meeting of the district level vigilance and monitoring committee here.

Sonia surprised everybody as she took a different route to Rae Bareli (via Unnao) from Amausi airport in Lucknow and began making surprise inspections soon after reaching the outskirts of her constituency. Sonia took a working lunch in her car and continued her surprise visits till evening. She also interacted with the members of self help groups in some villages.

Sonia first stopped at Chandramankhera village and went to the site of pond being dug under the NREGA. When villagers pointed out that desilting work had not been carried in the nearby canal despite a large chunk of funds spent on it, Sonia then went to the site and summoned officials to enquire about the realities.

Giving another surprise, she stopped at the roadside market outside Pakhrauli village and checked the prices of vegetables there. But the vegetables prices must have come as a surprise to Sonia too as potato, tomato and green chilly was quoted Rs 10 per kg each while bringel was at Rs 5 per kg. She had visited the village to keep her promise that she would be there again to check the progress of implementation of Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme.

Sonia was upset to see that 'khichari' was being served instead of 'kadi chawal' to about 130 children at Baraulia village. Sonia summoned the officials and asked them to collect samples and take action.

Significantly those who came running to Sonia to make their complaints were not only the villagers or the Congressmen even the local leaders from other parties also met Sonia to make their point.

A Samajwadi Party leader Subedar Major Chaudhary Prasad (retd) met Sonia at Ban Purwa village to inform her about the power supply problem. At Usru village Sonia went to the side of a pond again and checked how many labourers had been employed there under the NREGA. “How many workers have been given jobs,” she asked. At Thiman Khera a youth Manoj (30) informed her about problems in getting the BPL cards and houses under the Indira Avas Yojana.

A handicapped Ramesh (35) approached Sonia for a job at Satwa Khera village. “I am a post graduate and have completed a course from Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Technical Institute for Handicapped in Kanpur,” he said.

Sonia asked the BDO to allot him a shop and asked her staff to ensure that Ramesh was given a computer within a week. “We will provide him a computer,” said Rajesh Srivastava accompanying Sonia. She also distributed blankets to the poor at many places.

At the same village Sonia went to check the progress of work of a pond where working was being carried out under NREGA. A woman Ram Pyari informed Sonia how she was being denied a job despite being a trained nurse. When officials assured her that a job could be given to the woman under the Asha Bahu Yojana Sonia said the scheme had been there since 2004.

“Why the woman had been denied work since then,” asked Sonia. Some other women also informed Sonia that they had been denied job under the NREGA there. It was found that 18 workers had been employed without a proper job card Sonia asked the officials to inquire and give her a report on Saturday morning. At Dariyav Khera too villagers informed Sonia that hardly any funds had been spent on digging the pond though officially they had been told that over two lakh had been spent on the project.