Telangana releases Rs 500 cr for 'Dalit Bandhu' in Huzurabad

The Telangana government on Monday released Rs 500 crore for implementation of its ambitious 'Telangana Dalit Bandhu' scheme in Huzurabad Assembly constituency, where by-elections are likely to be held soon.

Unfazed by the criticism from the opposition and some NGOs, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government is going ahead with the implementation of the scheme on pilot basis in Huzurabad.

The Government Order (GO), issued by the Scheduled Castes Development Department, permitted the Telangana Scheduled Castes Co-Operative Development Corporation (TSCCDC) to release Rs 500 crore to Karimnagar District Collector for implementation of the scheme on a pilot basis in saturation mode.

Acting on the GO, the TSCCDC Managing Director released the money to the Collector.

The state cabinet last month decided to implement the scheme on a pilot basis in Huzurabad from August 16.

The government said that Dalit Bandhu scheme is aimed at providing financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to each of the identified Dalit families and to promote entrepreneurship among them.

Under the first phase, 100 families from each of the 119 Assembly constituencies will be identified. The government has announced allocation of Rs 1,200 crore for the scheme.

However, the government rolled out the scheme from Alair constituency on August 5 with the release of Rs 7.60 crore to extend the financial assistance to 76 Dalit families in Vasalamarri village of Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district.

A day after Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao visited his adopted village and interacted with Dalit families, the government had issued an order for implementation of the scheme.

The Chief Minister during his visit to the village had announced that Rs 10 lakh will be deposited in the bank account of each beneficiary family from August 6. He said the beneficiaries would be free to spend the money the way they want but advised them to use it to create source of revenue.

Huzurabad seat became vacant last month with the resignation of former minister Eatala Rajender. He also quit the TRS to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Rajender's resignation from the TRS and the Assembly came after he was dropped from the Cabinet by KCR following allegations of land encroachment.

The opposition parties have termed the 'Dalit Bandhu' scheme a political stunt. NGO Forum for Good Governance urged the Election Commission to stop its implementation in Huzurabad saying it was clearly aimed to lure the voters. Some activists have also moved the high court challenging the implementation of pilot project in Huzurabad.

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