Andhra Pradesh

This Salt Satyagraha site in Ongole is crying for attention

The Salt Satyagraha site at Devrampadu in Prakasam district.  

The sleepy village of Devarampadu was in the limelight before Independence, as it was from here that Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu had launched the Salt Satyagaraha on a call given by Mahatma Gandhi.

A grand ‘Vijayotsavam stupa’ unveiled in the coastal village in 1935 by noted freedom fighter Babu Rajendra Prasad, who later became the first President, stands proof to the important event.

However, not enough attention has been paid to perpetuate the memory of Prakasam Pantulu and the important event during the freedom struggle. The site lacks a pucca road and other basic facilities to attract Indologists to the historic site. Promises had been made year after year on special occasions to develop a befitting memorial, only to be forgotten thereafter, laments a group of people in Devarampadu.

The statesman’s admirers in the village now in their 70s, recall the great sacrifices made by Prakasam Pantulu during the freedom struggle before becoming the Premier of Madras Presidency and the first Chief Minister of Andhra state formed in 1953.

B. Narasaiah, 75, who had donated 20 cents for erecting the stupa then, says on their part, four to five persons owning land adjacent to the historic site had chipped in with their contributions for the grand pillar.

Except for visiting the village on occasions like Independence day, birth and death anniversaries of Prakasam Pantulu nothing had been done to perpetuate the memory of the statesman, who earned enormous wealth as barrister only to spend all of it for achieving Independence, they opine.

During heavy rain, the VIPs even skip their visit to the Stupa as the road will be unfit to travel, M. Subba Rao, 70, adds.

Prakasam Pantulu's follower Ch. Lingaiah recalls that the State government had promised to develop a beautiful park at the site, where Prakasam Pantulu had spent most of the time in the evening of his life in a mango orchard. Another promise to set up a museum for the members of GenX to draw inspiration has not been fulfilled, they add.

Meanwhile, Ongole Revenue Division Officer K. Srinivasa Rao explains that the Government has planned to focus its attention first on developing Prakasam Pantulu's birthplace Vindorayunipalem into a model village.

Collector V.Vinay Chand had sanctioned ₹55 lakh for internal roads and another ₹10 lakh for improving amenities at the Zilla Parishad School there. Devaramapadu would also be developed on the similar lines in phases, the RDO added.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 9:53:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/this-salt-satyagraha-site-in-ongole-is-crying-for-attention/article19493345.ece

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