Library has sufficient funds to build a multi-story building on its own and get substantial amount of rent
The Visakhapatnam Zilla Gandhalaya Samstha Sthala Parirakshana Committee, which is fighting for retaining the nearly one-acre site in a prime area of the city with the Grandhalaya Samstha and allow construction of the library building on its own by the Samstha while cancelling the lease agreement with a private company, organised a people’s ballot at different parts of the city and district on Wednesday.
The site adjacent to the Prahlada Prayer Hall near Dandu Bazaar is worth Rs. 45 crore was given on lease to the Pratyusha company belonging to local minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao for a rent of Rs. 1 lakh on BOT basis for 33 years in February 2010 with the company providing some space for library, while the library has sufficient funds to build a multi-story building on its own and get substantial amount of rent. Though the company is required to complete construction of an eight storied building in two years and allot two floors to library, work has not started yet and it came up with another proposal by changing the design of the building and to allot 476 square yards out of 4,563 sq. yards of to the library, which is pending with the government.
In the ballot the people were asked if the proposal was good for library. The ballot started on the beach road and a large number of morning walkers participated. The ballot was held in different places in the city and at mandal headquarters in the district.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University K.V. Ramana, former Union Secretary and convenor of Forum for Better Visakha E.A.S. Sarma, president of Praja Spandana and former Planning Commission official C.S. Rao and others participated in the ballot held in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue near GVMC main office.
They said ballot was an important initiative in democracy. Taking away a land belonging to the public and with politicians involved in the process should be strongly opposed, they said. Mr. Sarma demanded the Government to conduct an inquiry on how the one-sided agreement was made and to punish the officials and non-officials responsible for the agreement.
Prof. Ramana wanted people to oppose the politicians resorting to such acts. Mr. C.S. Rao cited the example of people successfully stalling the proposal to convert the old Central Jail site into a commercial complex, which is now being converted into a garden.
Convenor of the library site struggle committee B.L. Narayana; CPI-M leaders Ch. Narasinga Rao and K. Lokanadham; city president of Lok Satta N. Venugopal, LIC union leaders B.B. Ganesh and N. Ramanachalam; Chief Librarian of Visakha Public Library G. Krishna Reddy; DYFI district secretary V.V. Srinivasa Rao, city secretary V. Krishna Rao; former Librarian of AU S.S. Janardhana Rao and others participated in the ballot.
In other places, SBI employees led by union leader J.P. Sarma; G. Latchi Raju, GSN Raju and other leaders and members of BSNL Employees Union; LIC employees under the leadership of Swatantra Kumar participated in the polling along with general public.