February 22, 2015

AP Govt Should Constitute Social Security Fund

THE All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) demanded an immediate amendment to the Capital Region Development Authority (CREDA) which was constituted through an Act during the last week of December 2014 in order to facilitate the pooling of land required for construction of a new capital for the residual Andhra Pradesh. Addressing a press conference at Guntur, after interacting with a cross section of people in different villages, AIAWU CWC member Veeraiah Konduri condemned the TDP government’s going back on the promises. The press conference was held at the AIAWU district office at Guntur in which Eemani Apparao, district AIAWU secretary along with Y Radha Krishna, AIKS district secretary participated. Veeriaah slammed government for its decision to stop farmers from sowing crop from March 2015 onwards. The contradictory statements issued by different authorities in the state government have led to confusion about the actual policy position. He demanded the government to make its position clear on this count. The state government, in CREDA Act, said that the poor landless agricultural workers be paid a monthly social security pension of Rs 2500 per family in lieu of the loss of their livelihood. This is utterly insufficient for the average food, health and educational requirements for a family of five. The government has failed to constitute such a social security fund so far. As the government declared that from March 2015 onwards there would be no cropping in this region, it is going to badly affect the agricultural workers and small and marginal farmers for whom the wage labour income is a considerable part of their family incomes. With this stoppage of agricultural operations, more than a lakh of agricultural workers are going to lose their daily source of livelihood and will be thrown on the streets. In this context the AIAWU demanded an immediate constitution of the social security fund as mandated by the CREDA Act and also release the pension for all those eligible and working agricultural workers instead of per family basis. The AIAWU also demanded to include all those tenants who are going to lose their source of livelihood under this fund. The decisions of the government are going to destroy the rural credit structure on which the assetless agricultural poor and tenants are relying upon to meet their contingency needs such as health and education. As the decisions are going to destroy sources of income, the lenders, both government and private, are moving away from the credit market in the villages. In this situation, the AIAWU demanded immediate writing off of DWACRA loans as promised by the government as well as releasing new loans to DWACRA groups with the government itself providing security. Unless these changes are effected, the rural poor in the capital city region are going to be effected severely and losing their meagre sources of livelihood and income support. The government till recently had promised farmers who are losing land under land pooling system that it will develop a portion of land and hand it over back to the beneficiaries. Contrary to this, the CREDA Act only asks the government to return the lay outs without any development and also the Act provides that the farmers have to put in their own money for developing these lay outs in conformity with the proposed Master Plan for capital city. Nearly a lakh of people are residing in these villages in their own houses acquired hereditarily. The government is not going to recognise them as residential houses under section 3(g) of CREDA Act. The Act recognises those houses which are developed in conformity with the Master Plan as the residential area which is going to cause an irreparable damage to the public in the effected villages. AIAWU strongly condemned the notices issued to the residents in some villages in this region. To avoid such damage to the residents of this area, the AIAWU demanded to amend the section 3(g) so that the hereditarily acquired houses be considered as residential zone and ascribe heritage housing zone similar to Thrissur municipal corporation. AIAWU also demanded that the consultancy fee fixed for hiring the McKinsey Consultancies for developing the necessary inputs for the construction of the capital city be made public. It criticised the government for misleading the public by saying that these consultancies are supporting the state government free of cost.