Is it an indication of things to come? The landmark office of Andhra Patrika daily, considered by many a heritage building, is being demolished for development.

Ironically the founder of Andhra Patrika Kasinathuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu is also one of the founders of the Andhra movement. The idea of a separate Andhra State, away from the Madras Presidency, was born in Sri Baugh, the huge garden house that belonged to Nageswara Rao Pantulu, located on Luz Church Road in Chennai.

Nageswara Rao Pantulu, who made his fortune from Amrutanjan pain balm, started the Andhra Patrika magazine in Bombay in 1909. In 1914, he moved the journal to Madras and re-launched it as a daily. After Nageswara Rao Pantulu’s death in 1938 his son-in-law Sivalenka Sambu Prasad took over the empire.

In 1961, Sambu Prasad purchased land in Vijayawada and printed the daily from the Pathrika office near the Railway Station.

Former Editor of Visalandhra C. Raghavachari said that Patrika office was strategically located, close to the railway station and the old bus stand which has now been converted into a depot. Durgakalamandir, which also belonged to him, was the centre for several important cultural programmes and political meetings. The daily went into losses and had to be closed down after Sivalenka Radhakrishna took over from Sambu Prasad.

Litigation

Liquor baron-turned-politician and Telugu newspaper patron Magunta Subbiram Reddy purchased the property and tried to revive the daily, but he was unfortunately assassinated by naxalites. Vijayawada property changed hands a couple of times more and then got stuck in quagmire of litigation, State Grandhalaya Samstha Chairman Turlapati Kutumba Rao said.

News of the demolition came as a shock to many who see the Patrika office as a heritage building.

Others are surprised that various legal cases have been resolved so quickly.

The firm that has managed to purchase Durga Kalamandhiram that also belonged to the Amruntanjan group has been trying to purchase the Patrika office, but has stayed away because of the litigation. The case relating to the murder of one of the partners that purchased the property from Mangunta Subbiram Reddy is also still in progress.

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