Members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) holding a protest near the GVMC Gandhi statue on Saturday. (DC Image)
VISAKHAPATNAM: Members of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) held an innovative demonstration near the GVMC Gandhi statue here on Saturday. The tribals were demanding power and roads in their villages. The protestors displayed doli, kagada (traditional torch) and wore Phanera vahlii leaf (Vistari aaku) hats.
Residents of Jaju and Bandala, the bordering villages of Alluri Sitarama Raju and Anakapalli districts, have to walk about six km up the hill to be connected to the outside world. Around 260 PVTGs live in the two villages, where there are two government schools but neither has teachers. Medical officers are reluctant to visit the villages and treat the locals because there are no roads to reach the villages.
The tribals complained to the district collector several times and sought a road but to no avail. Two years back, the villagers, who are mostly labourers, pooled in money and built a road. However, it was washed away during the recent rains. As a result, pregnant women are travelling seven km in Doli to avail medical treatment.
Meanwhile, in Ananthagiri mandal, Booriga, Chinnakonala and 10 other villages with a population of 2,000 are living in utter darkness. Their pleas for electricity have fallen on deaf ears. "We want the government to recognise us as human beings," they plead.
Booriga and Chinnakonala villagers complained that realtors were colluding with revenue officials to grab their lands. They alleged that revenue officials were changing land records and real estate players were taking bank loans on their lands.
President of the AP Tribal Association 5th Schedule implementation committee K. Govinda Rao, PVTG Adivasi Tribal Association leaders Korra Kondababu and Marri Venkatarao, CPM leaders and Rompally panchayat ward 10 member Somula Appalaraju, villagers were among the protestors.