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Anger in rural areas against Congress Govt.

Saturday 7 May 2005

NEW DELHI, APRIL 7. Rural Delhi seems to be preparing for a long drawn out battle with the Sheila Dikshit Government. Despite making promises in the election manifesto not to burden the villages with additional taxes, the Delhi Government is doing just the opposite.

There is also strong resentment against the raw deal meted out to the rural belt and its representatives including the senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, Member of Parliament from Outer Delhi.

The village panchayats and samitis are up in arms against the various actions of the Government and planning to approach the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, to remind her of the promises made in the party manifesto at the time of Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections. The very fact that the ruling party MLAs raised their voice inside the Assembly against the Government’s move to tax small commercial establishments and close down small scale and cottage industries indicated the level of resentment and the pressure they are facing from their constituents.

Leading the brigade for the welfare of rural areas is the Nationalist Congress Party legislator, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri. He has been supported by legislators of the ruling party. The Congress had promised in its manifesto that it would exempt rural and urban villages from payment of House Tax but has gone back on its promise. In addition, the latest move by the Fire Department to seal all those building that are more than 15 metres high or disconnect their power and water connections has created strong resentment against the ruling party. Adding to the misery of the villagers is the move by the Government to implement and extend building by-laws to the rural villages, a move that is likely to face strong opposition and even lead to a confrontation between the villagers and the Government.

The rural population is angry with the Congress for not implementing the promise to extend the Lal Dora area of villages. The Lal Dora was last extended in 1908 and since then the face of Delhi, both rural and urban, has changed drastically.

What is more surprising is that despite expansion of the Capital, the Government has failed to take note of the situation and now the rural areas are being served with notices that their buildings and constructions are illegal.

On the other hand, the Rural Development Board headed by Mr. Sajjan Kumar continues to function without an office and staff. Even after six months of its constitution, Mr. Kumar has still not been provided with an office, staff or telephone indicating the triviality with which the Delhi Government is implementing the whole concept. Strong resentment also prevails against such treatment being meted out to a senior party leader like Mr. Kumar.

The issue was also raised in the Assembly when members sought to know if the Board has been provided with an office.

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