Lack of funds, poor maintenance hits the facility hard

The historical monuments in Rajahmundry which stand tall as the witness of the realm of cultural renaissance, social reforms and slew of developments are in a sorry state of affairs, thanks to the poor maintenance and negligence of the authorities.

Kandukuri’s Town Hall, the first town hall in the State with an open auditorium constructed by social reformer Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu in 1891, is the burning instance of the utter neglect.

No maintenance

The Town Hall now reminds one of those spooky buildings shown in the horror movies. The structure that sits in the heart of the town was dedicated by the great social reformer for the public purpose is not serving the purpose at all. Pantulu had stated that of the two big rooms in the Town Hall, one should be allotted exclusively for playing billiards and another room would house a library. He had also said that the Trust Board had to maintain a flower garden and all the expenditure should be met from the rents coming from the six shops constructed in front of the Town Hall. Now, there are two table tennis boards where top national and international player Anchanta Kamal, his father and top player once practised.

The billiards room is now in shambles. In total, 35 to 40 youths are coming regularly to play on the two billiards boards, which are in poor condition. There is no coach to train these youths. Only one clerk is there who collects Rs.40 per day from each player. With no one to oversee the functioning of the facility, some of the players even use ordinary bamboo sticks to shoot the ball.

The library has hundreds of rare books including the “Review of Reviews” published in London. The souvenir that was published during the Kakinada Congress Conclave in 1923 with detailed sketches of the delegates is also available.

“Kandukuri had clearly stated that the Hitakarini Samajam should to take over the Town Hall and run the show,” says P.V.B. Sanjeevarao, who did a research on the life of the social reformer. But, Y.S. Naraismha Rao, who has been the secretary of the Samajam for the last 30 years, blames the lack of patronage for the sorry state of affairs of the facility. “There are no patrons and we fail every time in getting funds from the people’s representatives to develop the town hall,” he says.