VIZIANAGARAM: The erstwhile Congress government, led by former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, had announced `2 crore for the Mahakavi Gurajada Venkata Appa Rao Memorial project in 2012 at Vizianagaram. However, it still hangs fire after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has come to power.
The district administration has made arrangements to celebrate Mahakavi’s 152nd birthday celebration on September 21 this year. Noticing the abnormal delay in getting the funds from the government, the collector requested the Tourism and Cultural Department to release the funds. But the officials of the department reportedly informed the collector that it had sent the proposal to the government and was waiting for the approval. According to sources in Hyderabad, the file went missing. Gurajada Appa Rao, who authored his greatest ever first Telugu play Kanyasulkam and the sensational patriotic hit song “Desamunu Premimchumann-Manchi Annadi Penchumanna, Desamnte Mattikadoy Deamante Manushuloi” spent most of his life in Vizianagaram. He served the Maharaja families of Vizianagaram. He constructed his residential building in Vizianagaram town in 1914 and passed away in the following year.
In the 1980’s, the government took away the building assuring the family members that the residence would be develop as a heritage structure. Later, the building was converted into a memorial.
On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurajada Appa Rao in 2012, the then minister for tourism and culture Vatti Vasantha Kumar assured the opposition that the government had allotted `5 crore for construction of two Gurajada memorial auditoriums - one at Vizianagaram and another at Hyderabad each at Rs two crore.
The same was also announced by the then minister for transport Botcha Satyanarayana. Later, during the 2012 celebrations, the incharge minister, MPs and others promised to develop the Gurajada Appa Rao Memorial into a museum and a library.
During his recent visit, deputy chairman of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Mandali Buddha Prasad also assured that the TDP government was ready to develop the memorial in a big way.
The proposals have been sent to the principal secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, according to deputy director, Department of Culture, Hyderabad, R Vasantha Rao.
“The department has informed the same to the district collector, Vizianagaram. Since 2012, on several occasions, the officials asked the ministers to sanction the funds but in vain. When I raised the issue twice, a minister was angry with me,” a senior official told Express.