Former Parvathipuram MLA calls upon leaders to espouse the cause of the region
The backwardness of the three districts of North Andhra clearly reflect a lopsided development policy as this is a resource rich region and there is no reason why it should remain backward, Andhra University Vice-Chancellor G.S.N. Raju said.
Speaking after inaugurating a roundtable of former elected people’s representatives from the three districts — Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam — organised by the Uttarandhra Journalists Front (UJF), the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the region was rich in human resources as many from the region have won laurels at international level and also were occupying important positions across the world and it was rich in natural resources too. However, the region has been the most backward in the State in terms of industrialisation, irrigation facilities and education, he noted.
Supporting the argument, former MLA from Parvathipuram Sankar Rao said that this region has been pushed backward. The per capita income in the region prior to formation of unified State of Andhra Pradesh was higher than the State average, however today it is only a fraction of the latter.
Lauding the UJF for giving a non-political platform for discussing such issues, he called on all the political leaders from the region to bury their hatchets and espouse the cause of the region.
The bias of the ruling class against the region is exemplified in the fact that the proposal for a Greenfield port at Nakkapalli was vetoed despite it getting all clearances. The powers that be have decided in favour of Prakasam district, former MLA of Payakaraopeta G. Sumana pointed out. Another former MLA from Payakaraopeta Kakara Nookaraju wanted focus also on culture and tradition of the area.
The bigger question is what defines development, it is not limited to numbers like GDP, former chairman of Visakhapatnam Cooperative Urban Bank Limited Manam Anjaneyulu said. There was a need to evolve a development model for the region to ensure sustainability, he said and called for selection of appropriate industries and promotion of region-specific processes.
The two basic parameters of development — education and health — have been totally ignored and the successive governments have abdicated their responsibility in this two sectors, he noted. He decried the fall in quality of education at all levels in the government sector and the commercialisation of education and health.
There is a need for public investment in these two sectors for development of the region, he pointed out. He called for a focused investment in infrastructure and promotion of industries that are suited to the region. On the whole there is a need in change in paradigm toward a people-centred development, Mr Anjaneyulu said.
A number of prominent former elected representatives from the three districts participated in the discussion anchored by M.R.N. Varma and N Nageswara Rao of the UJF.