TIRUPATI: The April 17 Tirupati Lok Sabha by-election has once again brought to fore the long-pending issues in the constituency.
The seven Assembly segments falling under the Lok Sabha constituency have their own set of problems and each passing election, leaders of various political parties promised to resolve them, but in vain. With some of the villages sharing borders with Tamil Nadu, inter-state issues ranging from fishermen straying into the waters of Andhra Pradesh and others are some of the poll issues.
Fishermen of Sullurpeta and Gudur divisions in Nellore district have been facing issues as Tamil Nadu fishermen frequently enter the waters of Andhra Pradesh, leading to skirmishes. In majority of the villages residing in Tada mandal in Sullurpeta segment, people have been demanding a Tamil medium school in the area.
Residents in some gram panchayats, which are very close to Tamil Nadu, allege that State government officials are not keen on resolving their issues.
Among the unfinished or non-starters are projects like Gudur-Dugarajapatnam railway line, which is pending since long even as the Railways sanctioned the project, and Dugarajapatnam port, one of the assurances made by the Centre at the time of bifurcation of the State.
Dugarajapatnam port will generate employment to locals and revenue to the governments. Similarly, promises made to set up a mega cluster for Venkatagiri weavers and a textile park in the region remained on the paper.
"Dugarajapatnam project has deliberately been delayed due to vested interests and also for the benefit of a few people. RITES had conducted a survey and prepared a Detailed Project Report for the project and subsequently, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal. The Supreme Court has asked the Union government as to why the port works were being delayed. Still, there was no response and even the then state government failed to allocate 200 acres for the port," Congress Working Committee special invitee Dr Chinta Mohan, who is a former MP of Tirupati and the likely candidate of the Congress in the bypoll, told The New Indian Express.
Chinta Mohan demanded that the Centre complete Mannavaram BHEL factory, Dugarajapatnam port and then only seek votes from the people of Tirupati. With the main objective of creating local jobs, NTPC-BHEL Power Projects Limited (NBPPL) plant was launched in 2009 at Mannavaram in Chittoor district.
The project was meant to manufacture boilers, turbines and generators. But, there has been no progress so far. "Realisation of BHEL project at Mannavaram close to Srikalahasti and industrialisation in the zone will create jobs for local youth. We will also focus on the development of an IT sector in the region and completion of Dugarajapatnam port. If all these projects come true, it will lead to the overall development of both Nellore and Chittoor districts. I will try my best to complete these projects after being elected with the blessings of people," said TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi.