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Iron fence gone, Praja Darbar reinstated: Congress’s ‘people’s govt’ gets going in Telangana | Hyderabad News


Kethawath Rukki, a 77-year-old tribal woman from Gummadavelly Thanda in Rangareddy district, and her grandson, Venkatesh, were among the hundreds of visitors at the Jyotiba Phule Praja Bhavan – the Telangana CM’s official residence – in Hyderabad Friday.

Her grievance is that a one-acre plot of land assigned by the government to Rukki’s husband Sukhya in 1975 was encroached on by their neighbours. “For the last 10 years, we have been running from pillar to post to have the land surveyed once again, but those who encroached on our land enjoyed the previous government’s support. Officials want bribes and people in our village are scared of them. This is our only hope,” she said of the Praja Darbar that was held at the CM’s residence.

As early as 6 am Friday, hundreds like them, armed with files and white paper petitions, gathered at the CM’s residence for the Praja Darbar. Most had come from far away to find solutions to their long-pending problems.

Called Pragathi Bhavan during the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) regime, one of the first acts of new Chief Minister Anumula Revanth Reddy was to dislodge the iron fence outside the compound of the residence-cum-office. It was a symbolic move by the new Congress dispensation that refers to itself as the “people’s government”.

praja darbar a revanth reddy On Friday, several of the visitors at the Praja Darbar complained that inordinate delays rendered the Praja Vani system ineffective.

Former Congress CM of unified Andhra Pradesh, the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, used to meet the public every morning and collect representations from them. People then received acknowledgement and status of their grievances on their mobile phones. This practice was continued by the last CM of unified Andhra Pradesh, N Kiran Kumar Reddy, even at the peak of the separate statehood agitation.

Festive offer

However, the BRS government that took over following the creation of Telangana stopped this tradition and maintained that there were sufficient platforms, including ‘Praja Vani’ – a centralised public grievance redressal and monitoring system – that enabled petitioners to meet officials of respective district administrations with their grievances and check the status online.

On Friday, several of the visitors at the Praja Darbar complained that inordinate delays rendered the Praja Vani system ineffective.

The visitors on Friday were allowed inside a hall in Praja Bhavan in batches of around 300 to meet the CM and put forth their grievances to him. After spending about an hour at the Praja Darbar, Reddy then left for the state secretariat, leaving minister Seethakka in charge of accepting petitions.

A data entry unit worked outside the hall collating information from petitioners, who were repeatedly reminded to write their phone numbers on their written representations to receive an acknowledgement and status update on their grievances.

By around 1.30 pm, more than 3,000 people had visited the CM’s residence and submitted their grievances. Among them were Venkat Reddy and wife Srujana from Hyderabad, who said their 267 square yard land on the outskirts of the city was illegally taken away by the local sarpanch.

telangana congress praja darbar People’s grievances ranged from land ownership issues to scholarships, pension and employment.

“We bought the land in 2018 after exhausting all our savings. We took a PF loan and sold my wife’s gold ornaments so that we have a piece of land by the time of our daughter’s wedding. For the last two years, our complaint has been pending at Praja Vani,” said Venkat.

People’s grievances ranged from land ownership issues to scholarships, pension and employment. Some did not even have a grievance. “You should see the happiness on the faces of people who could visit the CM’s camp office for the first time in 10 years. Today, people are moving around so freely here. For nine years, KCR did not allow anyone inside,” said Sreenivas Rao, a private sector employee. “The Praja Darbar system is a good concept. But its effectiveness will be known only after people see redressal of their grievances,” he said.





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