Rahul forces Uttar Pradesh officials to listen to farmers

April 18th, 2008 - 8:34 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh), April 18 (IANS) Congress party general secretary Rahul Gandhi Friday forced Uttar Pradesh officials to hear out Jhansi farmers’ grievances about the implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme. Gandhi, who was visiting Bundelkhand, sought a meeting with P.V. Jaganmohan, the divisional commissioner in Jhansi, to discuss irregularities in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), a flagship programme of the Manmohan Singh government.

Authorities had said only 10 petitioners would be allowed inside the local administration office. The Congress MP, however, arrived there with around 300 protesting farmers.

Anticipating trouble, authorities had put up a barricade 500 metres away from the residence of the divisional commissioner, where the meeting was to take place.

Choosing not to travel in his car, Gandhi reached the venue in a bus, accompanied by 300 farmers.

When officials refused to let the protesters in, they staged a sit-in demonstration near the barricade. The officials relented after about 30 minutes and allowed them in.

The farmers demanded proper allotment of work and payment under the NREGS and the officials assured them all help.

Talking to reporters later, Gandhi said it was a life-and-death situation for farmers. The NREGS, he said, must be implemented in all sincerity.

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