Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Hyderabad: Life in Telangana came to a halt as the new government began a massive survey on Tuesday to identify the real beneficiaries that are to be covered under various welfare schemes despite intense criticism from several quarters and fears of ethnic profiling.
The "Intensive Household Survey", being compared with the General Elections in size, would cover an estimated 84 lakh families living in Telangana, involving about four lakh government employees, including police personnel and teachers, a press release issued earlier said.
In contrast to heavy traffic witnessed in the morning hours usually, roads in Hyderabad today wore a deserted look.
Government offices, educational institutions, shops, petrol bunks, hotels, cinema halls and all other business establishments were closed as the government warned the private institutions of action for violating holiday orders. It exempted only emergency services.
Many information technology companies, however, were open as their managements expressed inability to declare a holiday. The global IT/ITES companies said their employees can still get enumerated as they will be having different shifts.
Information Technology Minister K Tarakarama Rao said the government had no objection as long as the employees participate in the survey.
As Hyderabad is a common capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Andhra Pradesh legislature, whose budget session began Monday, functioned as usual. Employees of Andhra Pradesh secretariat and other offices also worked.
The government has ordered Road Transport Corporation (RTC) not to ply a single bus across the state. Autorickshaws also stayed off the roads. People reaching at railway stations faced inconvenience. However, private cabs operated as usual.
The roads in busy areas like Khairatabad, Panjagutta, Ameerpet, Dilsukhnagar, Koti, Abids, Mehdipatnam and LB Nagar were completely deserted. Residents have termed the situation unprecedented as even the shutdowns called by political parties never evoked such a total response.
Adding to this, thousands of families residing in Hyderabad headed to the native places in other parts of Telangana to participate in the survey. Even the patients in government-run hospitals took permission to visit their homes for the enumeration.
Normal life also came to a standstill in Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad, Khammam, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Adilabad, Medak and other towns in the state.
The government has declared a holiday for the day and appealed to the people to stay at homes for the purpose of the survey.
Public transport buses and trains witnessed huge rush of people over the last few days travelling to their native places in view of the survey.
Telangana natives living in cities like Mumbai, Surat and other places have also reportedly come to their native places for the survey.
According to the "Check Slip" posted on the website of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), data is sought about the number of family members in a household, water tap connection, property tax assessment, LPG & electricity connections, bank account, Aadhaar card, caste certificate, birth certificate, disability, vehicles and land owned.
The enumerators have already made pre-survey visits to the households in the run up to the survey.
Refuting allegations that the survey is aimed at identifying Seemandhra natives, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao yesterday said that the exercise is intended to ensure that benefits of Government schemes reached the targeted sections.
In a media release yesterday evening, the Chief Minster appealed to the people to make the survey a success.
Observing the survey is being conducted for providing welfare schemes to the people and find out what they want, Rao asked citizens to give correct information to the enumerators.
Taking exception to certain critical comments made by Opposition TDP and BJP regarding the controversial survey, Rao had yesterday said the parties were raising a false alarm.
"The TRS Government wants to be target specific. It (the survey) is aimed at helping the people and the poor," he had said.
With PTI inputs