People familiar with the pristine beauty of Yendada village, on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, will be baffled to see highrise buildings

Yendada, a once sleepy village in Chinagadili mandal with only thatched huts and lush green agriculture and horticulture fields spread over more than 100 acres of land is today a totally different one with skyscrapers dotting the land of coconut groves. People who knew the pristine beauty of the village will be baffled to see highrise buildings, though laid out in a haphazard manner devoid of planning.

In fact the more than half a century old Ramalayam and the upper primary school are the only mute witnesses of how time and tide have changed the demography of the little village. It is difficult for old timers, who once lived here and moved away in due course of time, to believe that this concrete jungle with massive structures is really the Yendada of old.

Gangulu Prasad, a native of the village in his 60s, recalls that the village did not have even one concrete stone house, except the Ramalayam and the government upper primary school, and the rest were rows of thatched houses of farmers who cultivated paddy along with plantations including mango, cashew and coconut.

In course of time farmers began to sell their lands at throwaway prices as there were no takers. More than 50 per cent of the farm land went into hands of outsiders who bought it for a pittance, Rambabu said. The buyers made a lot of money in the real estate boom and most of the farmers who sold lands are still poor and supporting their families doing odd jobs.

Some of the old timers still living in the village-turned township recollect that the only sound heard in the evening after sunset those days, was the loudspeaker blaring film and devotional songs from the temple tower top entertaining the people and signalling farm workers to return home from the fields. Those addicted to alcohol would create a scene dancing to the tune of the songs and gradually fade into silence even as the village used to go to sleep by 7 p.m. The dim kerosene night lamps left to burn through the night were left dangling in the middle of what looked like Eskimo houses.

The same village today has pucca houses and lights burning even past midnight with family members, particularly women, hooked to their idiot boxes and enjoying one film after the other.

The original Yendada village still has bad roads and a poor drainage system. As farm lands were bought by several individuals, there is no organised layout and the apartments being constructed look haphazard. Multiple apartment complexes are still in different stages of construction and very few have occupied the flats.

Varahalnagar, B.C.colony, Rama Gardens and old Yendada are part of the Yendada village at large. Infrastructure-wise, not much development has taken place. Good roads and drains are lacking, street lighting is inadequate and there are hardly any shopping complexes to cater to local requirements. The entire township does not have space for development of public parks or community halls. The residents are urging the GVMC to take measures in this regard. They say that thefts are increasing of late in the township and there are reports of vehicles and or their tyres being stolen.

Lakshmamma says that one square yard of land today costs Rs.12,000 or so. The same extent of land was once sold for just Rs.10 per square yard. While the original owners of the lands are still living in poverty those who purchased them made it big much to the chagrin of the villagers.

However, Govinda Rao, a farmer turned auto driver who still retained an acre of land of coconut plantations facing the highway along with some of his family members and relatives are the lucky ones as the coconut grove would fetch them crores of rupees.

Mr. Rao says that he owes it all to his parents from whom he inherited the agriculture land. The beauty of Yendada lies in the coconut groves facing the village on the national highway.

A Royal Dhaba nestled under the shade of coconut trees attracts visitors to the village. The people of the Yendada village identify themselves with the development of the upper primary school.

The parents liberally donated to the development of school, construction of bathrooms, building of cultural platform and organising of celebrations of the school anniversaries. The school and the village temple have stories of their own to tell.

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