Telangana: VRAs despair as meeting with chief secretary falls flat

The VRAs have been protesting continually for two years to demand the implementation of a new pay scale as listed in the New Revenue Act introduced by the state government in 2020.

Hyderabad: After thousands of Village Revenue Assistants (VRA) protested in the city on September 13, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president KT Rama Rao assured that their demands would be solved by September 20. Though a meeting was held between the VRA Joint Action Committee (JAC) and chief secretary Somesh Kumar, the issues raised by VRAs are yet to be resolved.

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V Ramulu, a VRA employed in Khammam district said that Somesh Kumar asked the protestors to be patient. “Somesh Kumar garu said that the problem will be solved and that the government is on their side. They need to discuss the issue in future cabinet meetings,” Ramulu said.

The VRAs have been protesting continually for two years to demand the implementation of a new pay scale as listed in the New Revenue Act introduced by the state government in 2020. Currently, a VRA earns Rs 10,500 which they argue isn’t enough to fulfil their day to day needs. If the new pay scale is implemented a VRA is likely to earn Rs 25,000 which is a significant improvement.

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Last Saturday, different groups of VRAs tried to meet Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) on three separate occasions. In the first instance, a small group of VRAs waited for the chief minister to finish his speech at a meeting hall before submitting their representation. The CM vowed to support them.

Maa Dussehra kanukaga maaku ichni haami manzoor cheyamani memu KCR gaari ki chepamu (As a present for Dussehra, we requested the CM to accept our representation and meet our demands),” said Narsaiah, the district VRA incharge of Warangal district.

The CM accepted their representation. However, while a second group of VRAs tried to protest at the launch of Pratima Cancer Hospital, they were preventively detained by the police. The third group tried to speak to KCR while he was on his way to meet with TRS MP Captain V Lakshmikantha Rao. The CM spoke to them but however handed back their representation letter, visibly irritated.

“We just wanted our grievances addressed which is why different groups tried to meet the CM so many times. We still have hope that the state government will help us,” said Narsaiah.

In September alone, reports of three VRAs dying by suicide have come out. Koraboina Ashok, a VRA in Kamareddy district took his life on September 3, a day after his colleague Challa Ramesh also resorted to suicide. On September 11, K Venkateshwarlu, a VRA in Nalgonda district hung himself as a result of financial distress.

The protests by VRAs has crossed 72 days with no aid from the government as of yet.

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