KCR plans facelift, welfare schemes for his birthplace
Chintamadaka, a sleepy village in Telangana’s Siddipet district, about 125 km from the state capital of Hyderabad, will get a complete makeover in another six months if chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has his way.
In July, the chief minister, popularly known as KCR, visited Chintamadaka, his birthplace, and announced a bonanza of nearly Rs 400 crore for various development and welfare activities in the village.
In the first step towards its transformation, Chintamadaka is going to shed its rural look and turn into a massive residential colony. All the 1,000-odd houses with tiled and thatched roofs will be pulled down in a few days from now and in their place, brand new, spacious two-bedroom dwelling units will be constructed by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led state government.
The other houses in the village will remain.
But what is delighting the 3,200 residents of the village is KCR’s announcement of financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to each of nearly 2,000 voters there – a straight distribution of Rs 200 crore.
“This village made me the chief minister and I want to pay back by extending benefit to each eligible person financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh,” KCR said.
Though the beneficiaries will not be given cash, they will be given anything they want that can help them earn a livelihood. “They can buy autorickshaws, tractors, DCM vans [cargo vans], cattle or even harvesting machines. Young people will be encouraged to set up small scale units, coffee shops and restaurants or start businesses such as provision stores or computer centres,” Siddipet district collector P Venkatrami Reddy said. “The government will pay them money up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh.”
Some of the residents are skeptical. “Will it be possible to have uniform housing in the entire village, since there are rich, middle class and poor among the villagers?” asked 65-year-old Mallaiah, who is otherwise happy to get a proper house.
Then, there are some villagers who have old, but bigger houses built on 500-1000 square yards of plot. “How can the government demolish my house and give me a small double-bedroom house on 200 square yards? Moreover, I spent Rs 40,000 recently on sinking a bore well in my house. Will the government repay this,” asked S Babu, a shop owner.
The collector said the idea of constructing uniform housing was only to remove social inequalities. And for those who have larger houses, he said, the government would ensure that more houses would be allotted to them if there were more beneficiaries in the same house.
Chintamadaka sarpanch B Hamsaketan Reddy said the authorities will soon hold a meeting to convince villagers.
The chief minister also ordered that the village gets a complete facelift with well-laid roads, an integrated educational campus that provides education from primary school to post-graduation level, and an underground drainage system.
KCR’s announcement has even attracted those who had left Chintamadaka for good and one to other places in search of a livelihood. According to the village’s deputy sarpanc,h Motuku Ravi, at least 20 villagers who migrated long ago are now planning to return.
Siddipet collector P V Reddy confirmed that they would be eligible for the housing and financial assistance as long as they are registered voters in the village.
Opposition parties ar critical of the chief minister’s announcement .“He should remember that he is the chief minister of the entire state and not just his own village. What he is giving to his village is the taxpayers’ money ,” said Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president Mallu Ravi.
BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said doling out funds to benefit just one village was being unfair to other villages.
Political analyst S Ramakrishna said, “One can understand allotment of special funds for areas that really need special attention. Why should the government grant special funds to Chintamadaka, which is surrounded by irrigation canals?”