VIJAYAWADA: Stating that the State government is dismissing over 28,000 Village Organisation Assistants (VOAs) in the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) through memos and circulars, AP Congress Committee (APCC) joint secretary Nutalapati Ravikanth has urged Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan to prevail upon the government to direct the SERP to immediately withdraw the memos and circulars and ensure that all the existing VOAs continue to serve their respective committees.
Ravikanth said removing VOAs through memos and circulars is illegal, arbitrary and contrary to APACS Act, 1995. "There is no provision under the AP MACS Act, 1995 conferring power upon the government or any authority to stipulate any guidelines and mandate the society to follow the same. The VOAs have been serving in the villages since 5 to 15 years," Ravikanth said and added that the VOAs are the foundation on which self-help groups in the State flourished.
Ravikanth alleged that the ruling party MLAs, MPs, MLCs and party leaders are threatening the VOAs to quit. "This forced some of them to attempt suicide. The VOA association has brought the issue to the notice of the State government, but to no avail," he said.