Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday tweeted a video of a labourer from the state’s Guntur district, alleging that workers were committing suicide due to lack of work. Three labourers from Tenali, Guntur, and Mangalagiri regions of the district reportedly killed themselves in separate incidents this month, owing to a decline in jobs in the construction sector.
“It is mind-boggling to see workers committing suicide for five months without work or families starving,” Naidu tweeted in Telugu, according to NDTV. “The government should wake up to self-styled videos of selfies as a refuge.”
Andhra Pradesh has been going through a sand crisis for the last five months as the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led government planned to change its policy on sand mining and sale practices, according to Mumbai Mirror. Earlier this month, the state administration stopped all the projects in the city of Amravati, and discontinued the Naidu-led government’s “free sand policy”. It made the raw material available only from government-owned stockyards.
The video was reportedly posted by Polepalli Venkatesh, a plumber from Gorantla in Guntur district. Venkatesh claimed he was forced to end his life as he was unable to earn a living without any income for the past four months.
“Our livelihood means was only [the] construction business,” Venkatesh’s wife Raashi said. “My husband did not know any other work. We also have a one-year-old son who is not feeling well and needs medical care.”
Another of the three who allegedly committed suicide earlier this month over lack of jobs was Naga Brahmaji from Tenali. There is no clarity on the name of the third person.
Due to the change in the state government’s sand policy, procurement of sand for construction activities has declined. This has purportedly taken a toll on the construction and real estate sectors.
The Opposition also criticised the state government on the sand crisis. “I appeal to the centre to come to the rescue of construction workers,” said Jana Sena Party leader Pawan Kalyan. “The Andhra Pradesh government’s chaotic sand policy has put lakhs of workers out of job and put their families in a state of misery.”
The Telugu Desam Party called for Rs 10,000 as compensation for every worker, and also attributed the shortage of sand in the Krishna Basin to the recent floods in the state.
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