Andhra Pradesh: Polavaram R&R package, lack of basic infra to influence Araku LS poll outcome

Infrastructure problems are common across the constituency, while the eastern parts of the constituency located in Parvathipuram Manyam are facing irrigation and drinking water issues.
Representative image
Representative image

VIJAYAWADA: Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) package for the Polavaram project displaced, road infrastructure and health facilities are the major issues that concern the voters of Araku Lok Sabha constituency, the largest one in the State geographically.

The parliamentary constituency spread over four districts before the reorganisation, now it is divided into two districts for administrative convenience.

As per the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order (2008), Araku came into existence as a reserved constituency for Scheduled Tribes, comprising seven Assembly segments, including Palakonda, Kurupam, Parvathipuram, Salur, Araku Valley, Paderu and Rampachodavaram.

The first four constituencies come under the purview of Parvathipuram Manyam and the last three fall in Alluri Sitarama Raju district. Among the seven Assembly segments, only Parvathipuram is reserved for SCs, while the remaining six are reserved for STs.

Infrastructure problems are common across the constituency, while the eastern parts of the constituency located in Parvathipuram Manyam are facing irrigation and drinking water issues.

K Govinda Rao, a social worker from Araku region, noted that the lack of proper roads and transportation facilities to the tribal villages in Araku Assembly constituency and other hilly terrains has distanced the tribals from the fruits of development.

“Even for the basic health care issues, they have to travel miles on foot carrying the infirm person or pregnant woman in doli. In some places, even horses are used as a means of transport even in the cyber age,” he pointed out.

Purnapadu-Labesu bridge on the Nagavali river in Komarada mandal of Parvathipuram Manyam district is top on the list of grievances. The State government had started the Purnapadu-Labesu bridge works way back in 2006. It sanctioned Rs 14 crore for the bridge in September 2021.

However, the bridge works are yet to begin. Once it is completed, the bridge will provide connectivity to nearly 80,000 people living in 35 villages. “Despite several representations and agitations, it has not materialised so far,” said Pari Naidu, a nature farming activist from Parvathipuram Manyam.

Pending works of the Thotapalli reservoir canal to provide irrigation water for 40-50 villages and other minor irrigation projects are also issues that need to be addressed. “Tribals are worried over the lack of minimum support price for the minor forest produce and the policy-makers need to focus on this,” Naidu mentioned.

Parvathipuram municipality, the headquarters of the newly formed district, suffers from the garbage disposal issue. The dumping yard in the middle of the town has become the main issue, while drinking water shortage is another recurring problem.

Speaking to TNIE, Balu Akkasu, a social worker of Rampachodavaram, said the R&R package for the Polavaram Project Displaced Families is one of the main issues that can influence the outcome of the election this time. “The project is pending and so is the implementation of the R&R package.

Tribals are losing their patience and worried that they may be paid a pittance, citing that the promise was to pay the compensation based on the price level of 2011,” he said.

Another issue that bothers the people of the Rampachodavaram region is frequent flooding from the backwaters of Polavaram.

During monsoon, for the past few years, it has become routine for them to temporarily migrate to relief camps. Now, they are looking for a permanent solution for the same, said Ch Srinivas Rao, a trader.

He agreed with Balu’s view that the people of the region are looking for a separate district. “The TDP and its allies have promised to form a new district with Rampachodavaram as its headquarters,” he said, indicating that the issues will be in the minds of the people while voting on May 13.

Since it was formed in 2009, the Lok Sabha seat was bagged by Kishore Chandra Deo of Congress in 2009, by Kothapalli Geetha in 2014, and by Goddeti Madhavi in 2019. The YSRC has fielded Chetti Thanuja Rani from Araku against Kothapalli Geetha of BJP in the election.

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