Community halls out of bounds for poor citizens

Community halls out of bounds for poor citizens
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Highlights

People of different areas in One Town, especially slum localities, are denied accessibility to community halls constructed long ago for them. In spite of catering to the needs of people, the halls are being used by the administration for purposes other than public needs. As a result, people have been suffering a lot and taking on rent the private function halls at higher prices.

Vijayawada: People of different areas in One Town, especially slum localities, are denied accessibility to community halls constructed long ago for them. In spite of catering to the needs of people, the halls are being used by the administration for purposes other than public needs. As a result, people have been suffering a lot and taking on rent the private function halls at higher prices.

Highlights:

  • Many turned into Anganwadis, police station, E-Seva centre etc
  • Slum dwellers forced to hire private function halls at higher prices as a result

The localities are known for below poverty line (BPL) families which find their livelihood with much difficulty by engaging themselves in petty activities in unorganised sectors. Their incomes will never allow them to rent a marriage hall. They have been expressing grief for shelling out their hard earned money to rent marriage halls.

In almost all of these localities, both male and female members in the family would work to maintain the family. Even their children, most of them school dropouts, engage themselves in work in hotels, shops and book-binding works.DV Ramana Babu, former corporator in Chittinagar area, said a community hall on hilly area at Anjaneya Vagu was handed over to Integrated Child Development Scheme to run an Anganwadi. It was already six years and authorities had failed to show an alternative accommodation for the community hall, he said.

He added that another community hall at Circle I municipal office was converted into E-Seva in 2004. No other arrangement for community hall was made, he lamented.The Overseas Development Authority, a foreign funding agency had constructed roads and community halls for these people in their localities over two decades ago. The administration gave electricity connectivity to them as part of slums uplift.

“The expenditure on account of renting private marriage halls has become a burden for us. Most of the halls which are property of community were snatched by the administration. Even at the time of calamities such as cyclones and floods, the community halls proved best shelters for us. A number of community halls are being used by the public health department of the corporation,” said P Appa Rao, a worker in a hotel.

“There are some other best examples to explain how we were denied access to community halls,” said K Balaji of Priyadarsini Colony and Md Ishaq of Bhavanipuram HB Colony. They said, “The Joginagar community hall is being used as Manasika Vikasa Kendram after its renovation in 2017. The Karakatta South road community hall was pulled down.

The health centre there was shifted to Rangoon Saheb Street which is frequently inundated by floods. Similarly, VM Ranga Community Hall in Priyadarshini colony was changed into sanitary inspector office. The Housing Board community hall was converted into police station two years ago. Near Dargah, a community hall was used as Urdu school” they said.

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