"The YSRCP must provide an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of workers who took their lives because of sand scarcity," Pawan Kalyan demanded.

Compensate workers in 2 weeks Pawan Kalyan holds rally in Vizag over sand shortage
news Politics Monday, November 04, 2019 - 07:18

Actor-politician and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan on Sunday led a ‘long-march’ in Visakhapatnam, in support of construction workers who have been facing unemployment for months due to a shortage of sand supply in Andhra Pradesh.

The rally which began from the Telugu Talli statue in the city, ended in a public meeting venue where the actor-politician addressed a gathering.

“We are giving two weeks’ time to the YSRCP government. Using the building workers’ welfare fund of Rs 1,200 crore, they must provide a compensation of Rs 50,000 for each construction worker who has lost their livelihood, and an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of workers who took their lives because of sand scarcity. Otherwise, we will come to Amaravati,” Pawan said.

So far, a total of six people in the state have reportedly ended their lives over the sand shortage in Andhra Pradesh.The shortage has hit construction activity in the state, pushing several lakh workers into unemployment.

Pawan Kalyan also said that the slump in construction had brought development and financial growth in the state to a halt.

Slamming the YSRCP government, Pawan Kalyan said, “YSRCP leaders are asking for some more time for things to return to normalcy. But workers don’t have thousands or hundreds of crores of money like them.”

“You take lakhs of rupees in salaries. Let me see if you guys can stop taking your pay for 5 months. You have no ethical right to be paid, since you’re not working for the people,” he told YSRCP leaders.

The opposition parties have blamed the YSRCP government for the sand shortage as immediately after coming to power in May, the Andhra government banned sand mining. In September, it announced a new sand policy to sell sand online. However, it failed to meet the huge demand.

The scarcity jacked up the sand prices and affected construction activity. The government however, said floods led to the situation as sand could not be drawn in the required quantities.

Pawan Kalyan slammed the government for giving such reasons, saying, “There have been floods in other states as well, but their workers are not dying. If you think the TDP’s policy had problems, correct them. But how can you deny sand entirely?”

TDP leaders like Ayyanna Patrudu and Atchannaidu were also present at the event. JSP had invited the BJP, CPI, CPM, TDP, BSP and Lok Satta to the rally. The Left parties, which had contested the elections in alliance with the Jana Sena, stayed away from the march the BJP had also been invited to the event.

Pawan also threatened to expose YSRCP leaders for making personal attacks. "I am not an adopted son of Chandrababu Naidu. I am an adopted son of people," he said reacting to YSRCP MP Vijaya Sai Reddy's comment.

The Jana Sena leader said he had not given up the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking at the event, Thoram Raja, President of the Andhra Pradesh Building Workers Welfare Association, said that 36 construction workers across the 13 districts in the state have taken their lives because of sand scarcity.

“Government officials have made up reasons like financial and marital problems, and even unstable mental health as the cause of the deaths in the FIR and post-mortem reports,” he alleged.

“We have been trying to voice our problems for the past 5 months, but there has been no response from the government. Officials have treated us very badly,” said Raja, demanding an ex gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh to be granted to thefamilies of the 36 workers who had taken their lives. 


Explained: How the politics around sand has claimed three lives in Andhra

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