Andhra Pradesh

In ‘Smart’ Kakinada, slum dwellers face the heat

The ‘Smart City’ tag being given to Kakinada seems to have an adverse affect on the lives of the poor residing in a slum area located in the heart of the city. As many as 56 Dalit families residing on Relli Street at Prizerpeta, located behind the Government General Hospital, are subjected to forcible relocation by the officials.

All the 46 houses in the locality have been barred from the supply of electricity and drinking water for the last three weeks and the residents are getting threats from different quarters.

The residents, who claimed to have been associated with the locality for the last 90 years, are enrolled as voters with their residential addresses of Relli Street and same are the addresses imprinted on their Aadhaar cards.

“Our forefathers joined as sanitation workers in the government hospital long back and they built the huts abutting the hospital’s compound wall. Till recently, we have not faced any problems. All of a sudden, officials of the hospital and the Revenue Department have instructed us to vacate this place immediately,” says J. Tirumala Rao, president of Navachaitanya Relli Kula Yuvajana Sangham, an organisation working for the community.

Not just the habitations, but the residents also built a temple for goddess Kanakadurga and church amidst the huts. Heads of almost the families are working as sanitation workers on contract basis with the GGH and enjoying drinking water and power supplies from the hospital for many years.

“On March 5, when our men went for work, a few personnel rushed to our area and disconnected the electricity. From the same day onwards, the drinking water supply was stopped. They threatened us with dire consequences and directed us to leave this place immediately,” recalls Ms. M. Lakshmi, a resident of the colony. Despite several attempts, the residents failed to have their complaint registered with the police. “We have a right to reside here as per the provisions of the A.P. Occupants of Homesteads (Confinement of Ownership) Act, 1976. But, the officials are not ready to listen to us, but are forcing us to vacate this area immediately, as they have plans for beautification of the city,” says J. Ganesh, secretary of the Sangham and an employee with a nationalised bank. The officials concerned, however, do not want to comment.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 8:33:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/in-smart-kakinada-slum-dwellers-face-the-heat/article8403528.ece

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