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VMC confers with ‘de facto’ panchayat chief

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Ticklish issue: Mayor Mallika Begum, her deputy Samanthapudi Narasaraju and officials of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation holding talks with representatives of Pathapadu panchayat on Thursday.
Ticklish issue: Mayor Mallika Begum, her deputy Samanthapudi Narasaraju and officials of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation holding talks with representatives of Pathapadu panchayat on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

Pathapadu panchayat members finally convinced of corporation proposals, say officials

Villagers say they have not agreed to any proposal

Another meeting to be held on Oct. 29, says ward member

VIJAYAWADA: Mayor Mallika Begum, her deputy Samanthapudi Narasaraju and officials, including Additional Commissioner (Projects) S. V. Giridhar Rao, on Thursday held discussions with representatives of Pathapadu panchayat, led by “de facto president” Komaravalli Koteswara Rao, on the issue of dumping of municipal solid waste in the village.

The actual president of the village, Komaravalli Chinni, wife of Mr. Koteswara Rao, did not turn up for the meeting.

This was not the first instance of the corporation officials and the Mayor holding discussions with the “de facto” president of the village. The officials and the Mayor have been holding parleys with Mr. Koteswara Rao, who happens to be a Congress party member, ever since the Pathapadu villagers started obstructing the entry of corporation’s vehicles.

The officials evaded a direct reply when asked how they could hold discussions with a person who was not a member of panchayat. “As it is not a statutory meeting, there is no problem if we discuss our proposals with members led by him,” said Mr. Giridhar Rao. When contacted Ms. Begum simply said: “He attended the meeting as usual.”

Interestingly, the Mayor introduced Mr. Koteswara Rao as president of the panchayat to CPI (M) floor leader in the VMC general body Ch. Babu Rao and CPI floor leader P. Gowtham Reddy and others who attended the meeting.

P. Sitaravamma, one of the ward members of the panchayat, said: “We thought she (Ms. Chinni) would attend the meeting. He (Mr. Koteswara Rao) attends panchayat meetings also.”

The meeting saw Mr. Narasaraju briefing the members about the developmental programmes that the VMC intended to take up in Pathapadu, including laying of roads and supply of drinking water. The panchayat members initially resisted the dumping but were later convinced of the proposals, claimed the officials.

The villagers, however, said they did not agree to any of the proposals of the corporation. M. Srinivas, another ward member, said: “We asked for some more time to discuss the matter with our committee. Another meeting is scheduled to be held on October 29.”

The villagers who came to the VMC along with the ward members were not happy with the outcome. “Kandrika also falls under the jurisdiction of the VMC. But, there are no cement roads there. In fact, 60 per cent of our roads are already cement roads, though ours is only a panchayat. We don’t believe their words,” said K. Chinna Venkata Rao, a villager.

Bezawada Nageswara Rao, a resident of Pathapadu, said Mr. Koteswara Rao had constituted a ‘Paarisudhya Committee’ to counter the ‘Chetta Taralimpu Vyatireka Committee’ floated by some villagers who strongly opposed the dumping. Most of the members of his committee too opposed dumping of municipal solid waste in the village. Mr. Koteswara Rao was poking his nose in panchayat affairs and also in the dumping issue, he said, adding: “We will not agree to the proposals of the VMC. We want to our village to be free from pollution.”


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