Bars outnumber health centres in Ajithsingh Nagar

Residents staging a demonstration demanding shifting of a bar which came up on the BRTS Road in Vijayawada on Friday 	Photo: Kishore Nadipudi
Residents staging a demonstration demanding shifting of a bar which came up on the BRTS Road in Vijayawada on Friday Photo: Kishore Nadipudi

Vijayawada: Women in the city suburbs are up in arms over increasing public nuisance and eve-teasing committed by tipplers at bars and wine shops.

Madhuranagar with a population of 3,000, located on the western side of city, has been witnessing a spirited struggle against the menace of drunkards abetted by wine shops, bars and belt shops that came up in multitudes in and around the area. 

With women and children in the forefront, a candle light march was organised a week ago, demanding closer of a bar opened close to a school and temple and in the midst of houses.

According to Jhansi Rani, a woman activist from the area, the narrow passage that passes by the bar is blocked by tipplers and their vehicles. 

People going to the nearby railway station and women coming back home after work have been subjected to misbehaviour and witness drunken brawls almost every day.

The residents petitioned the city police commissioner and local MLA (Vijayawada Central) Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, seeking remedial measures, but no response yet. 

As if a rude shock to the protesters, an Assistant Commissioner of Police reportedly threatened to implicate them in cases for engaging children in agitations.

Madhuranagar, falling under 41st division, was established in the mid 80s with the families evicted from the canal bunds in the heart of the city, making way for canal beautification. 

The clusters of bars and liquor outlets are said to be breeding domestic violence against women and unrest within the families as the male members tend to spend most of their earnings on liquor at the end of the day.

Krishnamurthy, a resident of Prakashnagar, another suburb locality in the vicinity of Madhuranagar, said if a person earns Rs 350 after the day’s toil, more than 250 goes for liquor consumption. 

As a result, women are forced to feed the families by working as domestic helps and farm hands in nearby villages such as Nunna and Khandriga. 

All the colonies such as Ajithsingh Nagar, Payakapuram, Rajivnagar, LBS (Lal Bahadur Sastry) Nagar, Patel Nagar, and Rajarajeswaripet earned notoriety for crimes against women, drunken brawls, triggering massive protests from women in the recent past. 

Singhnagar was built in the mid 60s by relocating the encroachers at Bhaskararaopet making way for the Asia’s biggest RTC bus complex and road widening within the city. 

Singh Nagar, named after a senior IAS officer who was the VMC commissioner at the time of building the particular colony, inhabits around 1.5 lakh people, mostly migrants from Uttarandhra.

Srinivas, a local resident, said there were as many as 13 bars and liquor retail outlets in Ajithsingh Nagar area. “ But we have only six public health centres”, comments Jhansi Rani. 

The Ajith Singhnagar, Madhuranagar and Rajarajeswaripet areas are considered as a tempting clientele base for liquor trade. “Liquor business roars wherever the poor people are living,” Vishnu, a CPI-M worker said.