VIJAYAWADA : Vacant lands in thickly populated residential area like Gulabi Thota in the city is giving sleepless nights for residents as the lands become shelters for poisonous snakes and stray dogs.
The residents also say the situation becomes worse during the monsoon as the vacant lands get inundated with stagnant water and sewage posing a major health hazard to them. Though stray dog menace is there in most of the colonies in the city, it is acute in Gulabi Thota due to dumping of waste by roadside eateries into vacant lands. Huge quantities of waste food stuff attract dogs in packs.
“We are most worried about these vacant lands, which do not have compound walls. Overgrown bushes provide shelter to poisonous insects and snakes. The places are also safe havens for illegal activities,” says K Nagendra Babu, a resident of Gulabi Thota. Several representations were sent to the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) asking it to clear the bushes, but we were told that as the lands were owned by private persons, it could not do anything in this regard,” he says.
“We have petitioned the VMC officials many times over stray dog menace, but all our requests have fallen on deaf ears. So far, no sincere attempt has been made by the VMC to check the stray dog menace,” says K Narasimha Rao, another resident.
At the other end, the VMC which promised to develop the other side of Gulabi Thota into a ‘Happy Street’ has conveniently forgotten the project.
“These days, the land has become parking place for defunct vehicles and a safe haven for anti-social elements. The VMC should take up the project at the earliest, as the traffic has increased a lot in the area and residents are facing severe hardships to find space even to walk on the road, as it is fully occupied by moving and abandoned vehicles,” says R Sunil Babu.
“A few months ago, the VMC officials dug the road to construct manholes. However, they have conveniently forgotten to relay the roads. The newly constructed manholes are above the road level, causing accidents during night.
The issue was taken to the notice of VMC, but no action has been taken in this regard so far,” alleges Ch Parmila Rani, another resident.
When contacted, the VMC public health department officials said it had become a big task for the municipal corporation to initiate action against the vacant land owners, whose details are not fully known.
A team of officials has already taken up a survey in the city to install notice boards on vacant lands. If the owners fail to keep their vacant lands clean, they will be prosecuted, the officials said.
“As on date, the Happy Street project is still on paper, though enough land is available for it in Gulabi Thota. The fund crunch has hit the project. Once again, the matter will be taken to the notice of Municipal Commissioner J Nivas and steps will be initiated to ground the project at the earliest,” says local corporator K Mallikharjuna Rao.