Life A daily climb for hilltop residents
For V Bhavani, who is in an advanced stage of pregnancy from a hilltop colony in the Vijayawada city, the kind of ordeal she faces is worse than the pain she is due to undergo in the labour room.
Vijayawada: For V Bhavani, who is in an advanced stage of pregnancy from a hilltop colony in the Vijayawada city, the kind of ordeal she faces is worse than the pain she is due to undergo in the labour room. Bhavani, living at Gollapalem Gattu, one of the city’s hilltop localities, goes up and down staggering through 500 steps from her house to a health centre for check-up once every fortnight. “The hospital is 1.5 km away and it is literally a nightmarish experience,” she narrates her tale of woes.
Life is similar to more than 2 lakh people living on the hilltops in the city with 12 lakh population falling under 16 municipal divisions. Most of the inhabitants migrated from the north coastal districts a long ago to do menial jobs. A slew of colonies sprang up at the hilltops in Indrakeeladri area, Kothapeta, Chitti Nagar, Anjaneya Vagu, Milk Project area, Kalra hospital area, Gollapalem Gattu, Gandhi Hills, Mogalrajapuram, Kristurajupuram, Kasthuribai pet and Gunadala.
The city boasts of presenting a picturesque scene with criss-crossing canals on the one side of the hill. But the hills seem to present a different picture, being an abode of satellite townships with wounds and scars all over. Adilakshmi, a CPI-M leader, who represents 37th division in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC), mostly located at the top of a hill, reasoned that the land for housing becomes out of reach for the poor in view of soaring costs and that the hills turning into townships have become inevitable.
Development remains out of reach for the inhabitants as their colonies do for the mainstream life. Bhavani earnestly requests the VMC to establish health centres at the hilltop colonies. “Health workers do not visit our colonies and the doctors at the downhill demand more if asked to visit the patients at hilltops in case of an emergency,” she said.
Social life in the hilltop colonies goes amiss for want of community halls. “We cannot afford to celebrate marriage functions and birthday functions at the foot of the hills as carrying the paraphernalia required for the events through the uneven and narrow passages is not feasible,” Kondamma, another resident said.
The approach roads are formed without retaining walls which are risky for the disabled, children and the aged. “We keep worrying over the safety of our school-going children until they return home as they are vulnerable to fall while negotiating through the passage,” Kondamma said.
Sanitation is a distant dream in these colonies as the sanitary workers engaged by the VMC feel reluctant to touch the doors in these colonies. “There are not even dustbins in the hilltop colonies, forcing the inhabitants to throw the wastes into the drainage channels. This has resulted in stagnation of drain water with armies of mosquitoes zooming around,” Adilakshmi complains.
Gopi Naik, municipal health officer, on the other hand blamed the hilltop colony residents for lack of ‘civic sense’ in using dustbins. “We put up the bins but they are not being used by the residents”, he added.
By Anjaiah Desaboina