Wanaparthy: Overflowing drains which were built decades ago, pigs swarming sewers located right next to government colleges, choked drains near meat and vegetable markets and the town getting flooded with just one shower is the state of affairs in Athmakur.
CC and BT roads are limited to main roads and the colonies speak of gross neglect, as sewage is let out into open areas. With Athmakur being upgraded from nagar panchayat to municipality after reorganisation of municipalities across the State, locals expect the town to change for the better once the first municipal council is elected in the upcoming municipal polls.
The big market problem
As Athmakur falls close to Wanaparthy-Jogulamba Gadwal border and the Jurala project which connects both the districts, it has been a popular market for fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. While a modern fish market was constructed long ago, the vegetable vendors can be seen squatting in highly unhygienic conditions in Shivaji Nagar, where the meat shops and vegetable carts lie right next to each other and an old drain comfortably accommodates pigs. No wonder, private hospitals and clinics have been flourishing in Athmakur.
Following directions from District Collector Sweta Mohanty, Athmakur MRO had taken back a large piece of government land, near the modern fish market, from encroachers. A fence was fixed around the land to set up vegetable and meat shops at one big integrated market. But now, hardly a year later, encroachers have built two temporary shops with support from local political leaders.
Road widening at Gandhi Chowk
Gandhi Chowk, located in the heart of Athmakur, is always buzzing with activity. Traders, goldsmiths and fruit vendors have made this narrow road, which connects two main roads, their source of livelihood. Traffic jams are a common sight in this stretch. Though promises were made on road widening ahead of Assembly elections, no funds were released for the same yet.
Bus stand suffers neglect
The RTC bus stand in Athmakur is quite spacious, where necessary infrastructure like shops could be built. If roads are widened, many hawkers may be displaced. However, there is an opportunity to re-accommodate them if sheds are constructed in the open land at the bus stand. These sheds can generate revenue for TSRTC as well. As of now, the open space is brimming with sewage water flowing out of underground drainage system and plastic waste.
Athmakur receives drinking water from Ramanpadu water treatment plant located around 10 km away. However, people in the municipality complain that due to irregular and improper chlorination done at the treatment plant, they were reluctantly gulping the water. This situation has turned to be a boon for private doctors and RO plant owners in the town.
The root cause
An old drainage line which runs through Gandhi Chowk flows into farm lands. Even a light shower is enough for the drain to spill on to the roads.
Unless a new drainage system is built, the drainage problem of the municipality can’t be resolved, says Anil Kumar Goud, a local TRS leader, who also told Telangana Today that CC roads damaged due to Mission Bhagiratha works were not yet repaired.
The Dump Yard Problem
While restoration of Parameshwara Cheruvu, which has an ayacut of more than 200 acres, is yet to be taken up, absence of a dump yard has been forcing workers to dump garbage near the irrigation tank. Lack of workforce has made it difficult for the administration to take up door-to-door garbage collection.
There is a need for change in the mindset of the people and political leaders living here. “Injustice was done to Athmakur during Chandrababu Naidu’s regime, when delimitation happened and we were merged with Makthal Assembly constituency. All infrastructure went to Marikal and Makthal and we were left with nothing,” Eeshwaramma, a vegetable vendor, told Telangana today.
To drive this change, a full-time municipal commissioner is needed. However, Krishnaiah, APD, DRDO, who is the in-charge MPDO of Athmakur mandal, has been posted as in-charge Municipal Commissioner of Athmakur.