Hyderabad: AICC spokesperson Dr. Dasoju Sravan raised serious concerns over the irregularities and illegalities in the distribution of flood relief compensation in Hyderabad, asserting that TRS leaders are committing 'white-collar' robbery of public money in the name of compensation distribution.

He approached the Telangana High Court on 2 November seeking an inquiry on the widespread irregularities, discrimination, and embezzlement of funds allotted towards compensation of flood-affected families in Greater Hyderabad area and filed a Public Interest Litigation. Dr. Dasoju Sravan also demanded that the Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) postpone the preparation of electoral rolls for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections until the flood relief compensation distribution is completed.

"Widespread irregularities and discrimination are taking place during the distribution of compensation amounts to flood-affected families in the Greater Hyderabad area. TRS leaders are committing a brazen white-collar robbery of public money in the name of compensation distribution. While Congress demanded to offer Rs. 50,000 to every flood-affected family in the city, the Chief Minister promised to provide just Rs. 10,000 to every family and announced Rs. 550 crore towards flood relief compensation. He also said that 200-250 disaster relief teams would carry out the relief efforts. But it is extremely unfortunate that even this exercise, which needs to be executed with utmost sincerity, consideration, and swiftness, to offer relief to lakhs of suffering families during a calamity, is being used for political benefits by the ruling TRS government. It is being seen as a money-making venture and used as a vote bank ploy. As a result, even after three weeks since torrential rains devastated Hyderabad, lakhs of people who have faced severe losses due to the floods are yet to receive compensation and are living in abject conditions," said Dr. Dasoju Sravan expressing severe displeasure at the TRS government's handling of flood relief compensation distribution.

"The TRS government has been completely irresponsible and brazen regarding the compensation distribution. Till now, no official exercise has been taken up by the GHMC or the state government to assess the losses incurred due to the floods and to identify the beneficiaries. Compensation amount has been distributed to people cherry-picked by the TRS leaders. In most of the cases, beneficiaries were selected on the suggestions of TRS MLAs, corporators, or ward-level TRS leaders. As a result, genuine victims have been left out to fend for themselves. Also, this compensation amount is distributed by ward-level leaders wearing TRS 'kanduvas' instead of GHMC or government officials. Also, cash is being distributed instead of cheques. That too just Rs. 1,000 or 2,000 is being given to each family arbitrarily without any criteria. Have we ever seen compensation being distributed in the form of cash instead of cheques? How did money, which is supposed to be from the CMRF, get into the hands of ward-level TRS leaders? Who are the officials accountable for this money? Is there any official record of this money?" asked Dr. Dasoju Sravan firing a volley of questions against the TRS government.

The senior Congress leader, who is also the party in-charge of the famed Khairatabad constituency under the GHMC limits, explained, "The CM said Rs. 550 crore would be distributed in Hyderabad city. The chief secretary, Somesh Kumar, said Rs. 389 crore has been distributed till now. But according to our reports just Rs. 56 crore have been disbursed so far. We are getting thousands of complaints daily from Hyderabad residents who have not received the compensation. Even in cases where compensation was distributed, TRS MLAs, corporators, and ward-level TRS leaders pocketed commissions. It is disgusting that TRS leaders are resorting to corruption and pocketing commissions for a meagre Rs. 10,000 from people who are already devastated."

He added, "Every TRS corporator has usurped Rs. 5 to 10 lakh in the process. We have seen the TRS government pocketing thousands of crores as commissions in irrigation projects. But this is a new low in TRS loot under CM KCR's rule. It is unfortunate that the state government and GHMC officials, who need to safeguard public money and work for the people, are acting hand in glove with TRS leaders and supporting their loot. Therefore, I have approached the High Court to order an inquiry on the compensation distribution for flood-affected families and to ensure that money reaches affected families instead of the TRS leaders' pockets."

Postpone electoral rolls preparation for GHMC polls

The AICC spokesperson demanded the postponement of electoral rolls preparation for GHMC elections. He came down heavily on the Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) for releasing the notification for electoral rolls while residents of Hyderabad are yet to recover from the devastation caused by the floods and while compensation distribution exercise is still in progress.

"The TRS government has failed in offering relief to lakhs of flood-affected families in Hyderabad. Instead of offering succour to the suffering people, TRS MLAs, corporators, and ward-level leaders have formed cartels and pocketed commissions. Even in cases where money was distributed, TRS leaders are using it for publicity. Now the TRS government and Telangana State Election Commission are enacting a new political drama. The SEC issued notification on 31 October for the preparation of electoral rolls. Citing this, the GHMC commissioner ordered officials to stop distribution of relief amount as they had to urgently take up electoral rolls preparation. TRS leaders will again take up cash distribution after publication of electoral rolls in the run up to the polls and present it as pending flood compensations being distributed during polls. In such a case, it is completely unethical and will not provide equal opportunity to all political parties. Therefore, electoral rolls preparation should be postponed till the compensation amounts distribution to flood-affected families is completed," said Dr. Dasoju Sravan.

He alleged that the Telangana SEC had turned into 'Kalvakuntla Election Commission'. Instead of focusing on ensuring safe and fair elections, the SEC is dancing to the tunes of the Chief Minister, he further alleged. "How will the SEC release notification for preparation and publication of electoral rolls when people are stuck in deep trouble in the aftermath of the floods? Due to the SEC notification, compensation distribution to poor people is being stopped. Can't the SEC wait till the compensation is completely distributed?" questioned the Congress leader.

He has sought High Court's intervention to postpone the electoral rolls preparation and filed a PIL for the same.

Flood relief control room set up at Gandhi Bhavan

The Congress has set up a flood relief control room at Gandhi Bhavan to address the complaints relating to flood relief. Dr. Dasoju Sravan urged Hyderabadis to utilise this facility and complain about the irregularities in compensation distribution. He promised that Congress would take up their complaints received through the control room and ensure that compensation reached them.

People can call 040-24601254 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to file their grievances.

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