Catch-22 situation for merged mandals

Catch-22 situation for merged mandals

The Telangana government has shied away from its responsibility immediately after the merger. The AP Government, which is supposed to rule the region, is turning a blind eye.

People suffer as govts shy away from responsibilities

Rajahmundry: People of four mandals—Chinturu, Vara Ramachandra Puram, Nellipaka and Koonavaram—which are merged into East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh from Khammam district of Telangana are caught in a Catch-22 situation. Disorder and confusion prevails in these mandals as the administration is off the tracks.

The Telangana government has shied away from its responsibility immediately after the merger. The AP Government, which is supposed to rule the region, is turning a blind eye. People of these four mandals who used to depend on nearby Bhadrachalam before merger, are facing problems to reach out either to ITDA at Rampachodavaram or Kakinada, the district headquarters of the East Godavari, as they have to travel a long distance.

Education and health are the badly affected sectors due to the merger. The state of the students is hanging in balance and the condition of patients, particularly pregnant women is pathetic.

The people here are reluctant to go to either Rampachodavaram or Kakinada for their daily needs. They
have been demanding a separate Mini-ITDA for the merged mandals.

The people of these mandals have no representation in State Assembly now as elected MLA from their constituency, Sunnam Rajaiah, is sitting in Telangana Assembly. On the other hand, Rampachodavaram MLA Vanthala Rajeswari never visited this region. Because of the negligence of the politicos, people are puzzled and do not know whom to contact in times of crisis. Criminals are banking on the temporary dilemma and confusion of administration created by the merger.

The other problem faced by people of these mandals is lack of communication. They are getting Telangana editions of newspapers. They are not getting the information on their own district. Particularly, students are suffering due to lack information.

Education is affected by the merger of four mandals. Students as well as teachers are in dilemma on many counts. Students are facing problems with scholarships as e-pass system is not working for the first year students and they are expressing fear that they might lose scholarship facility for this year.

The teachers, on the other hand, are also in dilemma whether or not to draw the salary for this month as their union leaders have cautioned them not to take the salary from East Godavari district treasury as there is danger of considering them as AP employees forever. The union leaders are telling them to wait for a couple of weeks to draw the salaries as they are fighting to bring them back to Telangana fold.

M Anantha Reddy, principal of Government Junior College at V R Puram, said that all the students were depending on the scholarships. But, the mechanism is not working properly and the students are getting tense.

According to him, inundation is posing a threat as this area is going to submerge after completion of the Polavaram project. Authorities are not spending a single rupee on improving amenities like toilets, he said.

Venkata Reddy, village elder of Kotari Gumma in V R Puram mandal, which is going to be submerged after completion of Polavaram project, said: “The government seems in a hurry to complete the project. But it was not mentioning its plans about the rehabilitation.”

He further said that the people here depend on bamboo and edible roots for livelihood and they could not survive in other region after rehabilitation.

Venkata Lakshmi, a woman from the same village, explained that they used to go for delivery to Bhadrachalam General Hospital, which is about 60 km away. Now, they could not afford to go to Kakinada General Hospital, which is 200 km away from their habitation. She expressed fear that delivery for the pregnant women would take place during the journey to Kakinada as “the route is full of ups and downs with ghats.”

She lamented that students were suffering as teachers were frequently changing. Some of the teachers were going on leave. “The teachers are coming late,” she added.

Due to lack of monitoring by the official machinery, the institutions like schools and hospitals are in disorder. The plight of Mulakapalii Primary School is a good example to depict the plight of education. The single teacher comes to school once in a week.

A Class X student was appointed by the teacher to discharge duties of a teacher in his absence. The classrooms appear dirty. Students are seen cleaning the school premises. The villagers lodged complaints to higher authorities many times on these issues, but to no avail.

The Primary Health Centre in Jeediguppa village is much worse in appearance as well as its functioning.

Even though the number of staff working here account for eight, local people alleged that none of them is available for patients. They keep the patients waiting for hours together. If the DM&HO plans to visit this place, she has to travel more than 200 km.

Jyothi, Sarpanch of Koonavaram, expressed apprehensions over the implementation of 1/70 Act, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act and status of 5th Schedule in these merged mandals. She said that many people were deprived of Aadhaar cards. “They are getting only rice, kerosene and sugar from ration depots,” she said.

Nerupati Ravi, coordinator of physically-challenged division in Agriculture & Social Development Society (ASDS), explained that certificates assessed in Sadaram camps held in Khammam district in the year 2013 have not been entertained. Information of Sadaram camps being held at Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Rampachodavaram is not reaching these people due to communication lapses. Due to these problems, physically-challenged people in four merged mandals are being deprived of their rights like pensions, scholarships, bus pass and marriage incentive of Rs 50,000.

Director, ASDS, V Gandhi Babu lamented that people here have no elected MLA to address their problems and the Public Distribution System is in jeopardy.

Distance and communication gap is hampering the development of these four mandals. He advocated for setting up of special division and Mini ITDA for the merged mandals in order to enhance the monitoring system and to solve the woes of the people.

He also called upon the government to set up a police divisional headquarters with an IPS cadre officer to look after the law and order situation.

By: Samson Raj

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