VIJAYAWADA: For Gujjula Ravindra, Mayor of Altlandsberg (Germany), Vijayawada occupies a special place in his heart. This Bhadrachalam-born physician, who went to Germany in search of a bright career in the `70s, has been contributing to the development of Vijayawada after his election as the first citizen of the German city 15 years ago.
The effervescent Mayor, along with wife Gabriala and a team of teachers, students from Germany arrived at Vijayawada to inaugurate a rehabilitation centre at SKCV Children's Trust at Bhavanipuram and shelters at Diviseema village in Avanigadda, constructed with German funds. The visiting dignitary had an interaction with the corporators at the council hall, in which city Mayor Tadi Sakuntala also took part.
Says Dr. Ravindra: "This is my third stint as Mayor of Altlandsberg, a city close to Berlin with a population of around 10,000 people. On my first visit, I met the then Vijayawada Mayor T. Venkateswara Rao, who asked me to lend a helping hand for the development of the city. Thus, started my love for Vijayawada."
The first project, which was launched by the initiative of Dr. Ravindra, was a Kalyanamandapam at Ajitsinghnagar, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 25 lakhs. "But the project was inordinately delayed as it took three years for completion. Only if the projects were completed in one year, the funds would be released without difficulty," he said.
Dr. Ravindra, along with Ms. Sakuntala, inaugurated the school building at SKCV Children's Trust on Friday. "The service rendered by SKCV Trust is commendable. The rehabilitation centre was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 30 lakhs. The centre will help the children of the trust to enhance their skills in a more efficient manner. In fact, our German delegation did shramadan at SKCV Trust," he said.
Dr. Ravindra will inaugurate the four shelter-cum-schools, constructed at Diviseema village, at a cost of Rs. 16 lakhs on Sunday. "Each shelter-cum-school costs Rs. 4 lakhs. As per the agreement, the expenses of teachers and students would be met by the district administration. Primary education for Classes I to III would be conducted in the schools," he said.
The Mayor of Altlandsberg said that he had discussed five future projects with Ms. Sakuntala and after reaching Germany, he would finalise some of them after discussion with the German Government. "We discussed about a housing colony for rural poor and about AIDS, which is rampant in the coastal villages. In the next three months, some of these projects would be finalised," he added.
Later, Ms. Sakuntala felicitated the German delegation with shawls and mementoes.