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Telangana Women Burn KCR's 'Low-Quality' Saree Gift, Say Give Them to Your Daughter

KCR governemnt's much publicized saree distribution programme came a cropper as many women rejected the “low quality” sarees. Instances of women burning the sarees, cleaning vehicles with them and throwing them into dustbins were reported.

Sakshi Khanna | CNN-News18

Updated:September 19, 2017, 8:19 AM IST

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s much publicized free saree drive turned into a free-for-all on Monday as women came to blows with each other at distribution centres over the long wait. The gift itself was rejected by most women as they complained of the “low quality” of the sarees.

The state government was distributing 1 crore Handloom sarees to mark Bathukamma festivities in Telangana from September 18-20. It had spent Rs 222 crore on procuring the sarees and had women officials choose over 500 designs in various colours. The drive was a two-pronged strategy to woo the weavers and women voters.

But things went against the script from the very start. Trouble erupted at a few places as women started queuing up at fair price shops. The long wait soured the mood of women. As tempers soared, women thrashed each other and yanked each other’s hair.

Their anger did not subside even after they got their hands on their sarees. Women said they were under the impression that they would get good quality sarees but were left dismayed by the quality.

At one centre, women burnt the sarees, and sang and danced around them to mock the government. Instances of women cleaning vehicles with them and throwing them into dustbins were also reported from different parts of the state.

“KCR is giving us this Rs 50 saree. Will his daughter wear this kind of saree on Bathukamma festival?” asked one women. “Even beggars don't wear such sarees and KCR is giving us this saree. We were promised a Handloom saree, not this low quality one,” said another disappointed women.

Under fire, the government came out and called the protests politically motivated. The government had spent Rs 222 crore on the drive. While 52 lakh sarees were made by Telangana weavers, the rest were brought from Surat and other prominent textile centres due to shortage of time.

Women officials from the chief minister’s office took special care in selecting the designs, colours and quality of sarees to suite the tastes of women across the state.

Minister KT Rama Rao, whose face was prominently displayed on the saree packets came out in defence of the drive. “It’s a deliberate attempt of opposition parties to defame the government and its schemes. Women were happy and satisfied with the saree at most places,” Rao said.

The opposition, however, dubbed it the “saree scam.” “This is a scam of more than 100 crores. We understand the anger in women who have left their daily wage. We appeal to women to not burn the sarees. Instead, they can send them to the CM’s daughter and request her to wear them for Bathukamma,” Krishank, Telangana Congress spokesperson said.

“We are also questioning the quality of the saree. Mr KCR has to come clean over the price and quality of the saree rather than escape and blame opposition. Was there a tender called for the order placed to Surat dealers?” he asked.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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