Only in India: 90 per cent off for journalists!

25 March 2008

A shower of freebies is the first sign that an election season is around the corner. Three weeks after finance minister P. Chidambaram wrote off farm loans worth Rs 60,000 crore with an eye clearly on the coming general elections, the gravy train is picking up steam across India.

In the southern State of Andhra Pradesh, look who’s at the receiving end of the largesse: Journalists.

Sandhya Ravishankar reports on CNN-IBN that the “Congress is quietly buying out the state media by giving away 70 acres of prime IT land in Gachibowli to over 1,000 journalists”. More than 2,000 journalists have applied for the land. The selected journalists will get 200 square yards for between Rs 1 and 1.5 lakh while the market value is Rs 17 lakh.

The chairman of the state’s press academy Devulapalli Amar contends that the journalists won’t write in favour of the government just because it allots them house plots. But the opposition party leader Devendra Goud pulls no punches:

“The chief minister can give away his own land to whomever he wants. How can he give away state-owned land to journalists? He doesn’t give an inch of land to the poor to build a hut but he gives land to MLAs, MPs, judges and journalists.”

Read the full story: Andhra government doles out sops to journos

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