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My uncle used MANSAS for his political career only says Sanchaita

Sanchaita Gajapathi Raju
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Sanchaita Gajapathi Raju

Highlights

The issue of who is the legal heir to Pusapati Ananda Gajapathi Raju and who can head the MANSAS Trust founded by PVG Raju in 1958, which has properties worth over Rs 50,000 cr, has become a major controversy as Sanchaita took over as the chairperson of the trust. Sanchaita is the daughter of Ananda Gajapathi Raju from his first wife Uma

The issue of who is the legal heir to Pusapati Ananda Gajapathi Raju and who can head the MANSAS Trust founded by PVG Raju in 1958, which has properties worth over Rs 50,000 cr, has become a major controversy as Sanchaita took over as the chairperson of the trust. Sanchaita is the daughter of Ananda Gajapathi Raju from his first wife Uma. The couple, however, took divorce in 1991. In an exclusive interview to The Hans India, Sanchaita says she has big plans for MANSAS and has initiated many changes which includes education.

Your uncle Ashok Gajapathi Raju says that the enduring legacy of the Vizianagaram family in north coastal Andhra is its commitment to education. In pre-Independent India the then Maharajas of Vizianagaram were visionaries with clear, independent thinking. They patronised arts, culture and sports, besides encouraging social reform. Vizianagaram was also known as Vidyanagarm. But now the legacy is in jeopardy. What do you have to say?

It is nothing but a politician speaking. He is talking about largest land bank. But he never digitised land records. He gave away 8,000 acres at Rs 500 per acre which was far below the market rate and despite court notices informing him that somebody was claiming his property, he did not appoint a lawyer, and this caused a loss of Rs 13 crore. It was not a legacy of forefathers, but it was a tool available for him to secure himself his political career. If education was his prime motive, then why Vizianagaram is counted as one of the most backward district in Andhra Pradesh? Can you believe, till today the people here are still practising accounts by maintaining 'khata. But we've now decided that now we will not go forward with all these.

♦ It is being alleged that the present controversy seems to have less to do with service aspect and more to do with real estate. How do you view this?

The MANSAS Trust seems to be losing the trust of the people due to the perceived politicisation. Where would things head if this continues? I'm confident that we will regain the trust of the people and various stakeholders like students, teachers, the entire education eco-system, etc., I think all of them have welcomed the change.

♦ Being first female chairperson of Simhachalam board, what are your plans for the temple?

I'm absolutely overwhelmed. There are lot of plans for temple. First and the foremost the good news is, we have got the PRASAD scheme which is being approved by both the Centre and the state government. There are several things on which I am focused and are my part of my agenda, first is to mechanise the kitchen. Second, to make our temple into a green temple with proper waste management technology, planting trees. Also, have lot of work to be done in Goushala and I am planning to totally upgrade it and optimise the resources we have. I am also making sure for proper drinking water and sanitation facilities for devotees.

♦ Your work through SANA (Social Awareness Newer Alternatives, an NGO) won the inaugural Google Global Impact Challenge India Award by polling the highest number of online votes for your vision of bringing clean drinking water and sanitation to villages in coastal Andhra Pradesh. What are your plans of expanding the same to other villages?

We have got a footprint in over 40 sites which are not only villages but also schools. I have a background of lawyer and worked in a media space too. And then I decided to work in non-profit space but I always believe that one can leverage technology for social impact. I started SANA in 2011 and did my first project in Delhi where we setup first solar power water station in 2012. At that time, solar power was not cheaper and easily accessible. I have also worked on a small project in Andhra Pradesh and that is how Google came with this competition and I thought just to apply. We also got a world podium to share our success and to share the incredible work we did.

♦ You have a similar project in Delhi too and the attendance in the school improved due to clean drinking water, etc., The YSRCP government in AP has undertaken Naadu-Nedu to improve the infrastructure in schools. Why don't you tie up with them to work further in this regard so that more people benefit?

They are already doing some great work but for me, right now the focus is more on MANSAS-Simhachalam. I make sure that whatever project we work on are professionally headed with accuracy from grassroot level. Hence, currently I am only focusing on those projects through SANA and MANSAS.

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