Hyderabad: Minister for Handlooms and Textiles Dr P Shankar Rao has challenged the YSR Congress party President Mr Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for a public debate on the allegation made by the former that the present Government has neglected the handloom weavers welfare.
Speaking to the media here today, the Minister asserted that the allegation made by Mr Jagan was totally false and baseless. He said he was prepared for a public debate in Pulivendula, on any day fixed by Mr Jagan. Mr Jagan had stated that the Kiran kumar Reddy Government, which was boasting of taking care of the handloom weavers in the State, was actually neglecting their welfare. The Minister, hitting back at Mr Jagan, contended that the welfare measures taken up by the present Government were the best in the 60 years history of the State, and no other Government has done what the present Government was doing for the welfare of the handloom weavers in the State.
Dr Shankar Rao stated that during the five and half years regime of late Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (father of Mr Jagan), not more than Rs.25 crore was allocated for handloom industry, while the present Government has allocated a budget of Rs.297 crores; waived loans amounting to Rs.312 crore and secured Rs.387 crores from the Centre. Loans are being provided to the weavers through Societies. When the Government issued a warning to bogus societies of stern action, 303 out of a total of 1247 societies seized to operate, and the real weavers were getting justice through this action.
The minister pointed out that in the 2004 elections, the Congress party won 181 MLA and 28 MP seats, and in the subsequent 2009 elections, it secured 155 MLA and 33 MP seats in the State. There was a fall of 26 MLA seats in the 2009 elections, he said and asked whether it indicated that the people supported Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy. The party getting more MP seats indicated that the people supported the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, he asserted.
Dr Rao said that there was no dearth of funds for societies to waive the loans. If any weaver who took loan failed to avail the loan waiver, he could do so by approaching the concerned officials. All the eligible weavers would get the loans and the amount would be credited to their accounts directly, he added.