PR bid at bandh foiled
Praja Rajyam activists protest against local gas agency
Police take 110 activists into custody for violating Section 144
LPG not supplied by agency even after two months of booking: Praja Rajyam
KADIRI (ANANTAPUR DT.):
Police foiled Praja Rajyam’s (PR) bid to enforce a bandh in the town on Saturday, protesting large-scale irregularities in the distribution of domestic LPG cylinders by the local Bharat Gas agency. About 110 activists were arrested for violation of prohibitory orders.
The PR activists were trying to enforce bandh from 8 a.m. itself and as a result, all schools and colleges in the town remained closed for the day. However, cinema halls, hotels, government offices and other commercial establishments functioned normally from 11 a.m., after the arrest of the PR activists.
Prohibitory orders were imposed in the town under Section 144 of CrPC.
The Praja Rajyam leaders alleged that the police were playing into the hands of local Congress legislator Jonna Ramaiah, whose family members were running the gas agency and the imposition of prohibitory orders was one such instance.
The PR activists were on a relay fast protesting against the LPG irregularity from February 16. It has become a sort of a practice for the consumers of Bharat Gas in Kadiri, Nallacheruvu, Tanakallu, Talupula, Nambulapoolakunta and Gandlapenta mandals to spend sleepless nights in serpentine queues waiting to get gas cylinders even two months after the booking.
The problem has been attributed to large scale irregularities allegedly committed by Jayalakshmi agency in supplying cylinders over the last several years.
The agency was getting away with irregularities with the help of political and official influence. The agency has 26,077 connections including 12,833 domestic, 12,967 Deepam and 277 school connections. Besides, there were about 10,000 illegal connections, according to an estimate.
Supply of gas refills to unauthorised connections, allegedly issued by the gas agency by collecting huge amounts from needy consumers was leading to a huge demand-supply gap. Unable to have any impact on the agency even after repeated warnings, the district administration was forced to take over the agency for the time being.
The local revenue officials took control of the agency on February 17 to streamline the distribution of cylinders and prevent irregularities.
Officials were rejecting the Praja Rajyam’s demand for regularisation of unauthorised connections without any payment stating that the gas company would not regularise connections without the amount concerned was paid.
The unauthorised connection holders were given receipts for the money paid only on white papers by the agency.
Chiranjeevi hints at fourth front
Praja Rajyam (PR) president Chiranjeevi hinted at the formation of a fourth front at the national level under the stewardship of leaders such as Lalu Prasad and Sharad Pawar. One should think beyond UPA, NDA and the third front at national level, he said.
Talking to reporters here on Saturday, Mr. Chiranjeevi wondered why the PR was being questioned about a possible alliance with the BJP in spite of denials it had issued about a possible tie-up with the NDA. “The question of PR joining hands with the BJP does not arise as a matter of policy,” he said.Mr. Chiranjeevi said the PR would institute an inquiry by a sitting judge into the murky deals of the Congress and TDP governments if it came to power. The PR leader faulted the TDP-TRS-Left alliance for trying to project itself as a “champion of honesty in public life” by levelling serious corruption charges against the Congress government when its partners could not absolve themselves of allegations of corruption levelled against them. He proposed to contest from two places.