The demand for demerger of five gram panchayats (GPs) in Andhra Pradesh, situated in close proximity to Telangana’s Bhadrachalam town, gained momentum with aggrieved villagers from the five GPs taking to the streets along the Telangana-Andhra Pradesh border to renew their demand for transferring back their GPs to Telangana.
Last week’s extensive flooding in Agency areas on both sides of the inter-State border turned the spotlight on the ordeals of people living in flood-prone areas in the tribal pockets of both States. Bhadrachalam bore the brunt of massive floods in the Godavari, prompting the Telangana government to announce “permanent measures” to the recurring flood devastation.
This, in turn, led to renewed demand for transfer of Kannaigudem, Pichukalapadu, Yetapaka, Gundala and Purushothapatnam from Andhra Pradesh back to Telangana. These five GPs, once part of the erstwhile Khammam district in the united Andhra Pradesh, were merged with residuary Andhra Pradesh as per the AP Reorganisation (Amendment) Act in 2014, in the aftermath of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and formation of Telangana.
Amplifying the voices of aggrieved villagers of the five GPs, the all-party Bhadrachalam division level committee organised a rasta roko at Rajupeta in Bhadrachalam along the Telangana-Andhra Pradesh border on Sunday.
Scores of aggrieved villagers from the five GPs in Andhra Pradesh’s Alluri Sitarama Raju district took part in the demonstration.
Addressing the demonstration, the CPI(M) State committee member Machha Venkateshwarlu demanded that the BJP-led Central government should table a Bill in Parliament to ensure transfer of the five GPs back to Telangana.
This is imperative to mitigate the woes of people living in these GPs and facilitate flood prevention measures such as extension of the karakatta (flood bank) in Bhadrachalam to protect denizens of the temple town and the Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple from potential danger of flooding, he said. He noted that the Bhadradri temple lands are situated in Purushothapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The CPI(M) organised a series of agitations, including a bandh in Bhadrachalam Agency, in the last eight years to press for demerger of the five GPs for public convenience and development of Bhadrachalam town, which is facing severe space constraints, he said.
He added that former MLA late Sunnam Rajaiah of CPI (M) took the initiative to ensure passage of a resolution in the maiden session of the Telangana Assembly seeking transfer of the five GPs from Andhra Pradesh back to Telangana.
Some villagers from Yetapaka in Andhra deplored that they were facing severe ordeals due to the location of their district headquarters town in Paderu, more than 300 km away. They alleged that they had faced untold hardships during last week’s flood devastation and urged the Central government to negotiate with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to ensure demerger of the five GPs at the earliest.
The leaders of various political parties and representatives of several mass organisations participated in the stir.
Meanwhile, District Congress Committee president and Bhadrachalam MLA Podem Veeraiah and a host of local Congress leaders took part in the rasta roko.