VIJAYAWADA: It is a face-off between the state government and the bookstore owners at Lennin Centre in the city.
The government wants the bookstore owners to vacate the area so as to demolish the shops claiming that they had encroached upon irrigation department land (banks of Ryves canal), but the bookstore owners refuse to yield. The government is not ready to reconsider its decision as it wants the land for canal beautification project.
Irrigation department officials have already issued legal notices to the bookstall owners giving them 15 days’ time to vacate the area. The miffed shopowners burnt the notices and approached the left parties for support.
“The bookstore owners have been doing business there for the past 20 years and the land itself was given to them by the then corporation commissioner. Now, the irrigation department is issuing notices. Why it is not giving similar notices to the government and private organisations that are located on the banks of canals in Vijayawada. Is the term ‘encroachment’ applied only to the poor and helpless and not the rich,” asked CPM city secretary Ch Babu Rao.
He demanded that irrigation department officials roll back the decision and develop the canal without removing the shops.
Contacted by Express, Irrigation Superintendent Engineer C Ramakrishna wondered how the municipal corporation could allot irrigation lands to those people without prior permission from the department.
“We are only following government instructions for canal beautification and approaching them legally to vacate the encroached lands by issuing notices,” he maintained.