Vijayawada: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday criticised the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government over the sand crisis in Andhra Pradesh by comparing him to the Roman tyrant Nero.
"I had introduced the free sand policy in our rule, sand was abundantly available in the TDP rule. Today, there are hundreds of restrictions on purchasing sand, this government was quick to bring a liquor policy but the sand policy has been delayed for months, which has led to an exorbitant increase in sand rates," Naidu said at the 'Sand-Deeksha' protest here.
"While workers in the state are committing suicide, Jagan is acting like Nero who played Fidel when Rome was burning. In our rule, the poor person could dig up sand, fill tractor and leave but he has to pay now. Just for transporting sand, a person has to pay Rs 375, why should one pay that amount?" Naidu further said.
The TDP chief was undertaking a 12-hour-long Deeksha to press for three demands -- reintroducing free sand policy, awarding Rs 25 lakhs ex-gratia to families of suicide victims and compensation of Rs 10,000 per month for every construction worker who has lost livelihood in the last 5 months.
At the protest, Naidu brought on stage a woman named Rashi, whose husband had allegedly committed suicide owing to the sand crisis.
In a video which Rashi's late husband, P Venkateswara Rao recorded before his suicide, he had confessed to being driven to take his life due to unemployment caused by the sand shortage.
While consoling the woman, who narrated her ordeals and the help provided by the TDP chief in the hour of crisis, Naidu urged his party workers to extend support to the families of other workers who had taken their lives and to set up a fund to give financial aid to those families.
Regarding reports of the TDP youth wing President having joined YSRCP, the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh said he could make new leaders and it would not affect the party.
"I am not afraid if a leader goes. I can groom some more leaders. Our party workers are with us. I am least bothered of power. I was the longest-serving CM. I brought Anna canteens to provide quality food for the poor at less price, with dignity. Why did the state government close them?" he said.