Visakhapatnam

Alluri’s native village is remembered only twice a year

A heap of garbage near the Alluri Sitarama Raju memorial at Pandrangi village in Padmanabham mandal in Visakhapatnam district on Wednesday.  

Nestled amid lush green hills, mango orchards and farmlands, the otherwise quiet ambience of Pandrangi village of Padmanabham mandal was abuzz with activity on Wednesday.

A team of workers led by a few government officials got busier as the day progressed. Tents were being erected, chairs were being unloaded from vehicles and a stage was being set up. All for the birth anniversary celebrations of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju who was born in this village on July 4, 1897. His mother Suryanarayanamma hailed from the village.

However, amid the elaborate arrangements at the village, some 45 km from Visakhapatnam district headquarters, the discontent of the residents over the poor amenities was palpable.

Official apathy

“We see the government officials and political leaders making a beeline for this village only twice in a year. Once on May 7, the death anniversary of Alluri and on July 4 again. Like a ritual, they come every year, make tall promises for development and go. But nothing substantial has happened,” rued a group of villagers.

“Forget about development, Alluri’s memorial does not receive the respect it deserves,” they added.

Though the original house of the freedom fighter was sold off long ago, some villagers acquired it later. They developed a memorial at the same place and named it as “Alluri Sitaramaraju Janana Bhavanamu”.

The memorial has two statues — one is of Alluri and the other is of his mother. On the walls of the memorial, important dates of Alluri’s lifeuch as his birth, freedom fights, attacks on police stations were arranged.

While the house was modernised in 2000, the assurances of political leaders to create facilities and develop Pandrangi as a tourism spot still remain on the paper.

The locals said tourists come, enquire about the memorial and take pictures. They are forced to leave owing to lack of accommodation and other basic facilities.

“People dump waste nearby the memorial. The village is yet to have a proper drainage system. When it rains, the swelling drains flow through the memorial,” said K. Appalanarayana, a resident of Pandrangi. Others added that people had booze parties in nearby fields.

Adarsh Gram?

In 2017, the then Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu adopted Pandrangi under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) and promised development. However, the fate of village did not change.

“A bridge at the village entrance floods when it rains. Poor sanitation, lack of employment opportunities and many other issues still haunt the birth place of Alluri,” lamented a villager who did not want to be named.

However, some residents said it was an a honour to be born in this village. “I grew up listening stories of the heroics of Alluri from my grandfather. People say he used to come to Pandrangi seeking support from the villagers against to the British. I am proud to be a resident of this historic village,” said 75-year-old Devudu Babu while pointing at a temple nearby saying that Alluri’s mother used to take him there.

Since the past several years, some village youth have been taking care of the memorial. They ensured that it was treated as a temple. “Carrying footwear inside the memorial is prohibited. The youth are keeping the premises clean and creating awareness against dumping of garbage near the memorial,” said social worker K. Appala Naidu.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 11:53:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/alluris-native-village-is-remembered-only-twice-a-year/article28277494.ece

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