CM recalls Vizianagaram Municipal Commissioner

VIZIANAGARAM APRIL 9. The Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, today suspended the Vizianagaram Municipal Engineer, D. Jayakar, and the Municipal Health Officer, Venkat Reddy, and recalled the Municipal Commissioner, K. Vijayalakshmi, to Hyderabad for the squalid sanitary conditions in the town.

The Chief Minister, who stayed for the night in R&B guest house here after participating in the Jalachaitanyam programme at Sivaram village in Garividi mandal on Tuesday, made a surprise visit to municipal wards this morning. During his two-hour drive through the bumpy and dusty roads in the town, he inspected Peddacheruvu in the heart of the town where sewage water of entire town accumulates, choked drainages, filth in open areas and poor town accumulates, choked drainages, filth in open areas and poor drinking water supply.

The Chief Minister was surprised when he visited the municipal cattle shed to find that the municipality still engages bullock carts for transporting garbage. He asked the district Collector, Rajat Kumar, to auction the cattle yard and the scrap lying in it. Women, particularly in BC Colony, Poolbaugh Colony and several other areas complained to the Chief Minister about the poor sanitation and drinking water supply. In BC Colony, the Chief Minister found women using filters at a public tap as, according to them, the water contained worms and mud.

They also complained to the Chief Minister that water supplied once in three days was inadequate and the entire colony depended on the single public tap.

Mr. Naidu asked the Collector to prepare a cost-effective report on giving individual tap connections to the poor on no loss no profit basis. He also announced individual lavatories to poor households in the colony. The Chief Minister commented that the entire town which was once well planned and built by the Rajas now looked like a "big slum.''

Later, addressing a press conference at the R&B guest house, the Chief Minister announced suspension of the Municipal Engineer and the Health Officer and recall of the Municipal Commissioner. The Chief Minister said that an efficient Commissioner would be appointed soon.

Mr. Naidu said that Rs. 30 crores was spent for improving drinking water supply. Though the quantity of water being supplied was 90 litres per head, the residents were not supplied the quantity due to defective mains.

He said the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority would be asked to take over parks. He asked the Collector to hand over sanitation to private agencies and submit a comprehensive report on street-lighting, roads, drainages and drinking water in a week for his action.

The Chief Minister said that ineffective leadership was the reason for such pathetic conditions in the town. With the enhancement of municipal taxes last year income of municipalities improved, he said and regretted the poor facilities to residents.

The Chief Minister announced more power connections to agriculture pumpsets for promoting drip and sprinkler irrigation and also 2,000 additional houses under Indira Awas Yojana for the district.

The Chief Minister declined to comment when asked about the kidnap of four police personnel by the People's War except saying that it was a "sensitive issue.''

On the Opposition allegation that the TDP Government was misusing POTA, the Chief Minister said firmly that POTA would not be used for political gains. "The rule is for all. There will not be a separate rule for Congress,'' he added.

Asked about the CLP leader, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's padayatra beginning today, the Chief Minister said that he had been touring the entire State for the last seven and half years. Now he was touring extensively to monitor drought relief works.

"I have no idea why the Congress was doing all this. People knew the progress of development during the Congress rule.''

The Revenue Minister, P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, was present.