Hyderabad: With a view to mobilizing Rs 7,000 crore for the Rythu Bandhu scheme for the rabi season, release of funds for all other welfare schemes in Telangana, as also clearance of pending bills, has been stopped for the next two weeks.
According to official sources, instructions were issued to the finance department to arrange the money for Rythu Bandu by December 15. This is a top priority to Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao at a time when the state is witnessing a political slugfest between the ruling TRS and Opposition parties over farmers' issues and paddy procurement since November first week.
The CM wants to credit the Rythu Bandhu amount in the bank accounts of nearly 65 lakh farmers from the second week of December for the rabi season at the rate of Rs 5,000 per acre. His aim is to send a strong message to the opposition parties as well as farmers that the TRS is a 'farmer-friendly government' and it will not halt or delay the Rythu Bandhu despite the state experiencing a funds crunch, it is learnt.
Accordingly, the release of funds for Dalit Bandhu, Aasara pensions, Kalyana Laxmi, Shaadi Mubarak, fee reimbursement, scholarships, Arogyasri etc will be halted and the money diverted to the Rythu Bandhu on a priority basis. “Funds will be adjusted for these schemes once the Rythu Bandhu requirements are met in December,” official sources said.
The finance department had earlier been asked to mobilise Rs 3,500 crore to extend the Dalit Bandhu scheme to all the 119 assembly constituencies, covering 100 families of each constituency before March 2022.
Dalit Bandhu is currently being implemented only in Huzurabad assembly cosntituency and CM's adopted village Vasalamarri in Bhongir district, on a pilot basis, at a cost of over Rs 2,000 crore.
The CM had announced to extend Dalit Bandhu to four mandals in four SC-reserved constituencies - Chintakani mandal in Madhira constituency, Tirmalgiri mandal in Tungaturthy, Charagonda mandal in Achampet constituency and Nizamsagar mandal in Jukkal constituency and he has sactioned nearly Rs 300 crore for the purpose.
Dalit Bandhu had been temporarily halted by Election Commission during the Huzurabad bypoll, citing poll code. Although the CM promised to resume the scheme from November 4 after the bypoll result was out, it did not happen due to subsequent issuing of the MLC poll notifications by the EC. The MLC poll code will expire by December 16.
The finance department is planning to utilise the Dalit Bandhu funds for Rythu Bandhu now and arrange funds to Dalit Bandhu later.
Besides, work execution bills of over Rs 10,000 crore submitted by contractors remain unpaid in irrigation, roads and buildings, panchayat raj and municipal administration departments. Clearance of all these bills will now have to wait for more time, and this could begin after Rythu Bandhu fund requirements are met.