Anantapur: Basic amenities still a dream for Gooty people

Dirty streets and lanes abound in Gooty town

Dirty streets and lanes abound in Gooty town


The smart talk on 'Smart Cities' has remained an empty slogan and the idea of projecting a single town or city as smart monument of development is a crazy idea as it mocks citizens of neighbouring towns that such a privilege is the domain of lucky people.

Anantapur: The smart talk on 'Smart Cities' has remained an empty slogan and the idea of projecting a single town or city as smart monument of development is a crazy idea as it mocks citizens of neighbouring towns that such a privilege is the domain of lucky people. It glaringly brings to the fore the inequalities in development while citizens of deprived towns are equally taxpayers and deserve basic amenities if not similar treatment and status of Smart town or city.

While the district headquarter enjoys the status of municipal corporation, there are smaller towns in the district including Gooty, Guntakal, Penukonda, Dharmavaram, Rayadurgam, Puttaparthi and Tadipatri in the district which are smaller in size and deserve basic development and amenities like good roads, hygiene, protected drinking water and sanitation. Tadipatri town stands alone as the symbol of real development, thanks to the visionary and progressive minded ex-MLA and present smart Chairman of Tadipatri municipality J C Prabhakar Reddy. The town is the smartest in the district.

Gooty municipal town is an important road junction linked to Guntakal, Pattikonda, Kurnool, and Anantapur but the roads are not wide enough to facilitate smooth movement of traffic. It also enjoys the status of a Railway junction since the British era. Gooty and Guntakal were Railway colonies inhabited by the British during pre-Independence and the post-Independence decade. It was also the headquarters for the Christian Rayalaseema CSI diocese church and has excellent education facilities.

For the residents of this famous fort town, traffic snarls have been a persistent problem with narrow roads being the main constraint. The town has a few roads measuring 40 feet wide and the internal roads are less than 15 feet which make traffic movement a tardy and clumsy affair. The Gooty road has been a major traffic bottleneck for a long time and it is still waiting for a proper solution. The civic officials claim to be seized of the matter but to no avail.

The market area and banks are another problematic area with hundreds of vehicles parked in a haphazard manner. Pedestrians have little space to walk through this central locality of the town. The roads leading to Anantapur and Kurnool have to be widened. There is not even a single urinals. R&B Bungalow, MS Junior College and Football ground have become urinal spots. Due to paucity of funds, no development activity was done. Poor civic amenities and narrow roads are a common feature in all 'C' class towns in the district.

Social activist Virupaksha Reddy, a resident of Gooty speaking to The Hans India observed that water and sanitation have been recognised as human rights, but there is still little agreement on how these rights are best pursued. How sanitation and water services can be improved in deprived urban locations that conventional urban piped water and sewer services have not reached. Bad sanitation is degrading, disagreeable, unhealthy and far too prevalent in towns including Gooty in the district. Access to sanitation (or drinking facilities) may be entirely lacking or inadequate, he maintained.

In humid zones, inadequate drainage, open sewers and broken, de-pressurized mains in urban areas are leading to rapid transmission of waterborne diseases. Resentment is brewing among the town residents over choked drains, narrow roads, poor sanitation, indiscriminate digging of roads and stoppage of water supply through municipal taps. The proportion of urban population living in slums in Anantapur is in fact higher. 70 percent of the population in Gooty lives in slums. There is no proper town planning

"Water supply and sanitation facilities are crucial to the sustenance of urban life, regardless of income status. As of today, piped water, which is anyway available to only about half of the urban population, is never distributed for more than a few hours per day. The amount of non-revenue water, which basically means water unaccounted for i.e. leakages, stealing, unauthorised connections, collection inefficiencies, etc., is incredibly large. Only about 18 per cent of slum areas have precarious access to piped water. Non-notified slums (which amounts to 60 per cent of all slums) are completely deprived of water supply. Households who can afford it are often forced to spend on unsafe substitutes (thus inflating bills), while others have to make do with poor quality water supply and sanitation services," says Civic Watch Chairman M Suresh Babu. It is the urban poor which suffers the most as the rising costs of inefficiencies in services are passed on to customers. Yet, the quality of civic life does not improve, bemoans the town residents.

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