Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, on Thursday, conferred benefits on the Goud community, who are dependent on traditional occupations for their livelihood. He has enhanced pensions for toddy tappers from Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 per month. The CM has also announced a waiver of tax on palm trees and sanctioned 5 acres and Rs 5 crores to construct a Gouda Bhavan in the city.
Mr Rao stated in the Legislative Assembly, “The TRS government is striving hard to stre-ngthen and improve the financial standards of rural areas. The main focus is the development of agriculture and water resources as well as the encouragement of the traditional occupations. Many communities are dependent on the resources available in the rural areas to protect and improve their standard of living.
The Goud community is one among these, living on their traditional occupation. The toddy tappers were badly neglected in the undivided state. The lack of understanding of Telangana culture had led to doubts about the very existence of the toddy profession.” The Chief Minister also said that the Goud community had not rec-eived any support in the undivided state and that they had not even been allowed to live on their own. The toddy shops in Hyderabad had been closed to benefit the li-quor lobby, and unfortunately, the TS leaders at the time had supported rather than objecting to such activities.
The arrears pending from 3 years before the formation of the state of Telangana, and which amounts to Rs 6.38 crores, were paid by the TRS government all together, immediately after coming to power. “We have increased the ex gratia amount. Earlier, it was Rs 2 lakh in the case of death and Rs 50,000 in the case of permanent disability. We have increased the amount in both cases to Rs 5 lakh,” added the Chief Minister.
“On the other hand, they had become mute spectators to the life-th-reatening menace of Gudamba in rural and urban areas. The health of the people had been badly affected by the social destruction caus-ed by the then AP government. Thereby, the traditional occupation of toddy tapping has been jeopardised,” he noted.
“As promised during the Telangana agitation, we have reopened the toddy shops in Hyderabad, we have undone the injustice meted out to the Goud community. We have also taken more steps to ensure their welfare,” remarked the Chief Minister.