Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao said that the Telangana Government was striving hard to strengthen and improve the financial standards of rural areas.
“The main focus is on development of agriculture, water resources and encouraging the traditional occupations. Many communities are depending on the resources available at rural areas to protect and improve their standard of living. The government is implementing many schemes. Goud Community is one of the communities living on their traditional occupation. The Toddy tappers were badly neglected in the undivided state. With their lack of understanding of Telangana rural culture and their lack of commitment the existence of toddy profession itself has become questionable,” he said while making a statement in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
The Chief Minister alleged that the Goud community has not received any support from the undivided State. They were not even allowed to live on their own. The Toddy Shops in Hyderabad were closed, to benefit the liquor lobby. Unfortunately, the Telangana leaders of that time instead of objecting such activities, have supported them, he said. On the other hand they have become mute spectators to the life threatening menace of Gudamba in rural and urban Telangana. The health of the people was badly affected with the social destruction caused by the Government of United State. Thereby, toddy tapper traditional occupation has been jeoparadised.
“During the struggle for Telangana we have raised the issue time and again on the injustice done to the Gouda Community. I, as the leader of Telangana agitation have promised to open the closed toddy shops if we come to power. Telangana was formed as a result of great struggle,” he said.
As announced, he said that his government opened the toddy shops in Hyderabad. “We have undone the injustice meted out to the Gouda Community. We have taken many more steps for the welfare of Gouda Community,” he claimed.
“The previous government badly delayed payment of Ex-gratia in the cases of death or permanent disability to the tappers who fell from trees while tapping. The arrears pending for three years before formation of Telangana State amounting to Rupees 6.38 crores were paid by our Government at a go, immediately after coming to power.
In addition to that, on humanitarian grounds we have increased the Ex-gratia amount. Previously in case of death Rs. 2 Lakhs and in case of permanent disability Rs. 50,000 was paid. We have increased the amount in both the cases to Rs.5 Lakhs, he said.
The Chief Minister also announced that the pension being given to toddy tappers has been raised from Rs.200/- to Rs.1000/-. So far only members of Toddy Tappers Co-operative societies were getting pension. The government has decided to extend the pension to TFT members from now onwards benefiting about 30000 families of Gouda Community.
The officials have been instructed to complete the process of converting TFT in to TCS in (10) days time on receipt of such applications.
It is decided to increase the license renewal period from existing (5) years to (10) years.
As part of Telanganaku Haritha Haaram (TKHH), raising of Eetha and Khajur plants was taken up in a big way. In the State so far 1.70 crore saplings were planted. In coming days with the co-ordination of Excise and forest departments, the plantation of Eetha on Tank bunds, fore shores of tanks, along the Rivulets and Rivers will be taken up in a big way.
In has been decided to waive off all Tree Tax arrears. Also the Tree Tax which is being paid by the tappers on the basis of trees is totally waived. Even though this is going to cost Rs.16 Crores burden, per year, to the Government keeping the welfare of the Gouda Community this step is taken, he said.
Further, the Chief Minister announced allotment of 5 acres of land and sanctioning of Rs.5 Crores for construction of Gouda Bhavan, which will showcase the glory of the Gouda Community. “We hope this building will become a centre for Socio, Economic and Political upliftment of Gouda Community, he said.