Visakhapatnam, March 28 (IANS) The Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has triggered a row by covering slums along the road from the airport to the city with green shade nets in view of one of the G20 summit meetings being held in the port city.
By hiding the slums behind green tarpaulin sheets, GVMC hopes to hide them from the eyes of the foreign delegates, said former bureaucrat and activist E.A.S. Sarma.
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The two-day G20 summit meeting began in the city on Tuesday, in which about 200 delegates from various countries are taking part.
The retired IAS officer said that the slums are a standing testimony to GVMC and the government’s failure to implement slum welfare programmes year after year. Even in the latest budget approved by the GVMC, instead of providing 40 per cent of the budgeted amount for slum development, the Corporation has allocated funds for contractor-driven works, betraying the magnitude of corruption that exists in it, Sarma said.
Sarma, who released a few pictures of slums being covered, said in a statement that they depict the pitiable condition of a slum cluster, including a slum in which a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), about 60 Chenchus live in sub-human conditions. This slum is in ASR Nagar at Thatichetlapalem on the airport road.
“This is nothing but a mockery of the state and GVMC’s contemptuous attitude towards the most disadvantaged groups. Strictly, this attracts the penal provisions of the law to prevent atrocities on Scheduled Tribes,” he said.
A few days ago, GVMC had displaced hundreds of street-side hawkers and vendors, damaging their shops, in violation of the Central law that has conferred special rights on them. Many of the vendors belong to the most disadvantaged sections of the society. This is nothing but an outright onslaught on their human rights, Sarma said.
GVMC violated the environmental laws, especially the CRZ norms on the Vizag beach, damaging valuable marine resources, he alleged.
Sarma said the GVMC apparently spent Rs 150 crore of tax-payer’s money on beautification works in Visakhapatnam, and it is a matter of shame that people’s representatives in the Corporation should meekly allow this to happen without remaining accountable to the people. Beautification is a euphemism for enriching contractors, he alleged.