Andhra Pradesh

Cleaner air, better sanitation on One Town voters’ wish list

Water bottles and plastic waste removed from a blocked drain lying on the road at Poorna Market in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Rising air pollution and a deplorable sanitation system are the two things weighing most heavily on the minds of voters as they look to elect a new municipal council for the first time in 14 years.

For people living in One Town area, which comes under Suryabagh area (Zone-IV) of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), cleaner air is something they have been demanding for years. Residents of Kothaveedhi and Town Kotha Road are said to be among the worst-hit when it comes to air pollution in the city limits.

“Many residents including myself are suffering from asthma, skin and respiratory issues due to air pollution. The coal dust permeates the air, even inside the houses. Many people have left the colonies despite having their own houses here,” said A Raju, a resident of Kotaveedhi.

S. Babu, a resident of Ferry Street, lamented that their pleas have continued to fall on deaf ears. “Governments and administrations have changed, leaders have come and gone, but our problem remains. Though the open conveyors carrying coal and iron ore have now been covered, the pollutions levels have not come down to desirable levels,” he said.

Poor sanitation and irregular clearing of drains is another problem that plagues the locals. According to the residents, during rains, the drains overflow in many colonies. Several houses in low-lying areas get inundated every time it rains, they said.

“Despite a ban, a number of shopkeepers continue to use plastic. The wastes generated are dumped into the drainages. Sometimes, the drainages are not cleared in time and when it rains, the drains get blocked and sewage water overflows on to the roads,” said G. Markandeya, a resident of Town Kotha Road.

V. Lakshmi, a resident of Relli Veedhi, said that a number of times, sewage water has entered her house which is in a low-lying area. A few colonies also face issues with supply of drinking water, she complained.

According to residents of Relli Veedhi, a few years ago, there was a serious problem of open defecation in their locality. Keeping this in view, the civic body has constructed community toilets at two places. However, irregular clearing of garbage has remained an issue.

“Garbage is not cleared properly. The dustbins overflow often and a foul smell emanates. Street dogs and pigs feed on the garbage and it adds to our woes. Many hospitals do not have proper waste disposal system in the area,” said B. Santosh, a resident of Relli Veedhi.

Keen contest on cards

Among other demands, having a separate hawkers zone is also on the wish list for a number of street vendors from the One Town area. The street vendors often set up shop on the roadside or on footpaths due to lack of adequate spaces.

The total electorate in Zone-IV is around 1.98 lakh, including 99,000 women. In the last two Assembly elections, TDP candidate Vasupalli Ganesh was elected. But this time, the contest becomes keener as Mr. Ganesh has pledged his loyalty to the YSR Congress. This opens up a battle between the ruling party and the TDP. Zone-IV has 12 wards, and forms the oldest part of the city with a large number of slums.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 4:27:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/cleaner-air-better-sanitation-on-one-town-voters-wish-list/article33936089.ece

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