VISAKHAPATNAM: In yet another instance of the political bosses interfering with the duties of the bureaucrats, the authorities of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) were reportedly forced to stall the removal of illegal encroachments on the storm water drains in the HB Colony which sucked away six-year-old C Athidhi in the city, two days ago. Despite people’s lives being at stake, a minister in the state cabinet has allegedly reprimanded some top municipal officials for trying to clear the encroachment by the ruling party leader, Saturday.
Observing that illegal encroachment on the storm water drain dimmed the chances of Athidhi’s survival, the GVMC officials embarked on a mission mode to remove all illegal encroachments on the storm water drains across the city, especially in the HB Colony where the girl fell into the drain. Since Thursday night, the municipal authorities have removed the illegal encroachments by over 100 property owners in the HB Colony area. Nearly 25 earthmovers were engaged for the work on Friday for removal of these encroachments between the HB Colony and Lawson’s Bay Colony.
But when the earthmovers reached the residence of a Telugu Desam Party leader to clear an encroachment over the storm water drain in the HB Colony, he reportedly called up an influential minister in the state Cabinet and lodged a complaint against the municipal officials who were carrying out their orders. Minutes later, the phones of top officials in the GVMC started ringing and they were reprimanded for their action following which the field staff were instructed to return. “We always face such resistance from people with vested interests and have no choice but oblige such requests despite the lives of people being at stake,” a top municipal officer told TNIE. GVMC commissioner J Pravin Kumar confirmed the removal of encroachments won’t be halted. “The demolition of such illegal encroachments is a continuous process. We will continue the demolition works on daily basis,” he added.