`Palle Nidra' revives hopes of villagers

VISIT TO REMEMBER: District Collector Navin Mittal along with Malleswaram MLA B. Vedavyas having breakfast in China Gollapalem on Tuesday.

VISIT TO REMEMBER: District Collector Navin Mittal along with Malleswaram MLA B. Vedavyas having breakfast in China Gollapalem on Tuesday.  

K. Srimali

Navin Mittal addresses several problems brought to his notice

Machilipatnam MP and Malleswaram MLA join CollectorVillagers seek a bridge across Upputeru

CHINA GOLLAPALEM: Residents of this island village in Kruthivennu mandal, the last point in Krishna district, could not have asked for anything better, when the entire administrative machinery, led by its chief executive, descended on their not-so-easily accessible landmass on Monday, and addressed their problems in one go.

It all happened, thanks to district Collector Navin Mittal's `Palle Nidra' (an overnight stay in a village) visit, which prompted Machilipatnam MP Badiga Ramakrishna and Malleswaram MLA Buragadda Vedavyas to join him.

When the kingpin of district official machinery and the top two public representatives visit a village and rest there, it was only natural that the host of officials follow suit.

Result: this otherwise quiet village had to host at least a couple of hundred visitors, including security personnel and supporting staff of main officials, and, of course, the media.

But villagers evidently had no regrets, as Mr. Mittal methodically went about addressing a slew of problems and grievances brought to his notice by village sarpanch K. Hanumantha Rao at the gram sabha held in the night.

The MP, the MLA and the Collector had by then already experienced the problem of reaching the island, as they journeyed for some 30 minutes in Upputeru by a launch to reach there. Naturally, they were quick to assure the villagers about establishing connectivity to the mainland of the district.

The roughly 12,000 population of the village is dependent on launches and punts to travel between the island and the mainland that joins at Pallipalem village.

No helath centre

After dawn, even if it were an emergency, villagers would have no other choice but to wait for resumption of ferry services in the early morning. With no primary health centre in the village either, their living is precarious. It has been the demand of the villagers that a bridge be constructed across Upputeru to connect their village to Kalipatnam in West Godavari district, so that they can reach Bhimavaram in less than 30 minutes.

"The bridge has already been sanctioned by the Chief Minister," the MP and the MLA told the villagers, and the Collector added: "It will be taken up with NABARD funds. If everything goes well, foundation stone can be laid by December." A firm assurance was also given about laying the 7-km of cement roads in the village at a cost of Rs.1.5 crores. The other important demand of the villagers was for opening the sea mouth at one of the corners of the island, as Upputeru was not able to freely flow into the sea due to accumulation of silt. The villagers have also been seeking construction of a `cross bund' across Kotha Kaluva, which would solve the problem permanently.

Mr. Mittal assured the villagers that it would be considered after a year, as the behaviour of Upputeru would have to be observed in view of Operation Kolleru taken up recently.

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