Karimnagar: Dalit community members in the Huzurabad constituency were surprised to see senior officials and elected representatives from various communities visiting their houses and colonies as part of the Dalit Bandhu survey, on Sunday. They had not experienced such a scenario of closeness or warmth ever in the past.
For the babus, the practice so far had been to summon them to offices and collect details of the living conditions. This time, a prestigious byelection round the corner, officials along with public representatives sought them out. This has made the Dalits happy but several of them wondered whether such a good turn is temporary or lasting.
Kumar, resident of Kamalapuram mandal, told Deccan Chronicle that his community members are seen as untouchables in villages and upper caste people avoided visiting their homes and colonies. “They will not allow us to enter their homes and housing colonies either,” he said.
However, with the launch of the Dalit Bandhu scheme by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao as a pilot project in Huzurabad constituency, the Dalit colonies there came into limelight and people there have become the focal point of governmental engagement.
Erra Bhagya, resident of Indiranagar of Huzurabad, told Deccan Chronicle that Dalits are treated differently in society by not only the upper caste people but also the Other Backward Class (OBC) communities.
“They will not invite us for any social or private event, they will give us least preference in any event in their areas and will use dalits only for manual labour. They do not drink or eat in our houses and do not let their children mingle with our children.”
“But. today, due to the Dalit Bandhu scheme, they are all coming into our colonies along with the officials and are busy collecting details about our difficult life,” she said.
Mohan, resident of Jammikunta mandal, said the CM was the only leader who cared for the well-being of the Dalits. However, he was not sure whether it would be easy for the dalit families to benefit from the promised Rs. 10 lakh.
Under the scheme, to set up a general store, cloth store, super market, medical shop etc, the beneficiary must hire a house or a building for rent. People of the upper castes and other communities will not give their building for rent to Dalits, he said, citing as an example what lay ahead.
“Even if they give their buildings on rent due to pressure from higher officials, they may ask us to vacate after a few months. So, how can a Dalit develop himself economically even after availing the benefits under the scheme,” he wondered.
One of the officials told Deccan Chronicle that they were facing some problems while conducting the survey in some Dalit colonies. Some Dalits were speaking harshly and questioning them as to why they did not inquire about their well-being all these years.
“Even though we are conducting the survey in a fair and transparent manner, some of these people are suspecting our credibility. They say we are giving priority to the Dalits who are TRS supporters,” he said....