P. Sainath The NREGA is having multiple and layered effects. With better wages, the bargaining power of the weakest has gone up a notch. Lakshmamma hopes the NREG work will continue. But she's up against a powerful combine of forces entrenched in the countryside and ensconced in Delhi's power elite. "Why can't they keep the schools open during summer,' asks P. Somamma in Mosangi. A strange question, with the mercury blazing past 43 Celsius in the Nalgonda village and all of us cowering in the little shade we can find.

P. Sainath The complaints are many and often justified. People are sometimes exasperated by the way the NREGA system works. But there is unanimity on its worth and value. Gadasu Ramulu, past 70: Hunger and rising prices are driving the old and the very young to work. In the time of crisis, NREGA work is their lifeline. He says he is not 70 but is, in fact, "quite a few years older.' "Anyway, how can I tell exactly?'

It's a simple strategy of protest with no pretensions of winning. The aim of the Polepally protesters: "That we get our land back, our lives back. Our one and only demand.' COMMON APPEAL: "Voting for the Jadcherla 13 means saluting with love our Mother Earth.'

Inflation is going through the roof but if you are poor and a resident of Andhra Pradesh, you are not likely to feel the pinch. It's not because of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's ability to rein in prices, but because of his penchant for unabashed electoral populism. The relaunch by the Congress Government of the subsidised rice scheme

The government has confirmed prevalence of anthrax in Chittoor, Prakasam, Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts and attributed its outbreak in the State to the leather industry thriving in Tamil Nadu close to the common border. Replying to a question tabled by G. Muddukrishnama Naidu (Congress), Animal Husbandry Minister M. Buddha Prasad informed the Assembly on Wednesday that disease broke out among sheep at Jandlapeta in Karvetinagar area of Chittoor Municipality close to the Tamil Nadu border. Five sheep and four cattle perished last month as a result. The incidence of the disease was also reported in Prakasam district in December and some