NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Housing Board colony junction turns lively in the evenings
The Housing Board colony junction which has old Venkojipalem on the north, Housing Board colony on the south, Steel Plant Colony on the east and the Dr.V.S.Krishna College road on the West is a nerve centre of activity. It is a mix of employees of State Government and the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and also an educational centre with the oldest government college being located near here.
Evenings are lively with local residents enjoying hot chaat and fast foods. The ‘Nan Roti’ point at the junction is in great demand with youngsters and others. Just a few furlongs away the Krishna College centre too turns lively in the evening with people thronging to a number of eating points to enjoy the hot Bajjis and spicy chutnees. During festivals the village committee organizes folk dances and stages dramas and musical concerts apart from village fairs. Hundreds of youngsters participate in the celebrations. It is a typical colony with a mix of urban and rural cultures.
With a population of over 40,000, the colony has several slums housing illiterate people who originally were part of the grand old Venkojipalem village. Way back in the 1980s the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board colony was formed and 400 houses for middle income and lower income groups built. Half the houses that were built were handed over to the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant which was coming up. This resulted in the formation of two colonies at the place. Some of the allottees of the Housing Board challenged the Government decision in the High Court, however the court upheld the Government move.
Those days, the Housing Board colony was home to some of the Russian nationals working in the steel plant lending an international flavour to the colony, which was home to people from other parts of the country working in the Steel Plant. With the Steel Plant Township Ukkunagaram coming up and the management deciding to shift its employees there the steel plant colony life is ebbing out of the Steel Plant Colony. In fact the Steel Plant has also demolished some of the houses in the colony.
An old time resident Rangaraj wanted the Steel Plant to return the buildings and the site to the AP Housing Board to enable it to build a multi-storeyed housing complex for the middle and lower income groups.
That would be a great gesture to the people as the original allottees among the people had sacrificed their house allotments for the steel project, adds Suhasini, a college lecturer.
Keywords: Visakhapatnam Housing Board