VONTIMITTA (KADAPA DIST): The proposed idea of the officials of endowments department and district administration to evacuate all the 85 residences located in the south of Sri Kodandarama Swamy temple at Vontimitta village in Rajampeta mandal of Kadapa district has come as an unsavoury development to those facing eviction.
The move comes in the wake of the state government’s decision to turn Vontimitta into an alternative to Bhadrachalam to host the ‘Rama Navami’ festivities.
The residents deplore that they are left with no option but to succumb to the diktats of the government machinery, following their predicament with possession of any claim over the lands, which mostly belong to the endowments and revenue wings.
Following the government’s directions, the officials prepared a master plan by taking the instructions of the endowments officials into consideration and their plan is to reclaim the 50 acres of land by subjecting 85 families to eviction. The plan also included a massive task of blasting a nearby hillock to fill the pits, after evacuating the residents.
After making the land ready, the officials are planning to develop infrastructure like laying of roads, construction of guest houses, kalyana mandapams, dormitories and tonsuring facility at the venue to host the annual mega fete of Lord Rama’s ‘Kalyanotsavam’, by seeking the government’s nod.
“As on today, there are no facilities for devotees. However, as the number of visitors will increase in the coming days, there is every need for providing infrastructure nearby the temple and hence, the officials zeroed in on the said location,” said local MLA and government whip Meda Mallikarjuna Reddy.
He was quick to add that the government, too, will provide the best compensation to the displaced and arrange for required infrastructure in their new locality. There is revenue land near the temple and it will be used for constructing houses to the displaced residents with all facilities, he told Express. However, these assurances did not convince a majority of the residents as most of them wanted the government to provide them with shelter first and then evacuate them from the present location.
“We are residing here for three generations and are worshiping the Lord. But, all of a sudden, the officials asked us to evacuate, so the government can organise the Lord’s ‘Kalyanotsavam’ on a grand note here by demolishing our houses. Is it fair to make us homeless in the name of temple development,” questions a woman residing in one of the houses, which has been notified by the officials, as part of the master plan sought by the government.
Most women in the locality, adjacent to the temple, are seen gripped with panic after learning about the proposal.