VIJAYAWADA: Forty eight-year-old mechanic Someshwar Rao hits a metal sheet in order to straighten it, as he sits beside a huge pile of spare parts and remains of discarded trucks on Autonagar’s road number seven. Struggling to breathe properly he says, "It has been more than 30 years that I am working here. Not a single day has passed without seeing the surroundings filled with garbage."
On one hand, Jawahar Autonagar (abbreviated to Autonagar in common tongue) makes the State proud by featuring in the list of top 10 automobile hubs in the country and number one in State. On the other, it faces severe solid waste management issues.
Though several authorities are involved in solid waste management in the area, shrugging off responsibilities has led to heaps of solid waste getting accumulated over a period of more than 30 years, resulting in residents and employees of several automobile firms working there facing health hazards.
The road was initially quite wide. However, the civic body decided to construct a drainage system beside it, which led to its narrowing. Now, due to waste dumping, the road has been reduced to a narrow lane leaving just a small stretch for vehicles to pass. “Every day vehicles get stuck here as this road connects Autonagar to Ramvara Padu from where many trucks come this way,” said Md Amjad, who runs an engine-repair shop in the area. “Health issues are common here. If someone conducts a survey, they will find that one out of every two persons is suffering from some disease,” says Amjad as he coughs hard on inhaling toxic fumes emerging as a result of burning solid waste.
Almost all shopkeepers seem unaware about which authority to approach to get the place cleaned. These authorities include Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, Jawahar Autonagar Industrial Area Local Authority (IALA), JRD Tata Industrial Estate and the Kanuru Panchayat, which are responsible for waste management in the area. However, the technical blame game between the authorities, has contributed to increasing piles of solid waste.
Speaking to TNIE, IALA commissioner Nageswara Rao said, “The waste is managed very well in all the areas that come under our purview. The seventh road does not fall under our jurisdiction. Also the VMC dumping yard and drain are the corporation’s responsibility.” Ignoring the visible garbage piles, he questioned, “Who said that the areas are not well maintained?” He also said that 35 per cent of the tax collected, from all the shop owners is given by IALA to the civic body.