VIJAYAWADA: There were heated exchanges between Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in the Assembly on Thursday during the Question Hour session on the illegal constructions on the Krishna riverbed and also the demolition of Praja Vedika.
A question on the demolition of Praja Vedika by TD member Nimmala Rama Naidu triggered the discussion on illegal constructions on the Krishna riverbed.
Answering the query, municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana said that notices had been served to many constructions including the Lingamaneni guest house in which Mr Naidu was staying. He said that since the Praja Vedika was constructed flouting all the norms, the building had been razed to the ground.
Mr Naidu reverted by stating that the department had identified around 75,000 such illegal constructions across the state, but since he had sought the Praja Vedika, it was demolished.
The CM, in turn, lamented that there was a discussion on razing Praja Vedika that was built flouting all norms.
The CM said that no one was above the law. He cited the example of Chennai and more recently Mumbai affected by heavy rains resulting in building collapses and loss of lives. Such tragedies could be averted if people and leaders followed construction laws and allowed water to take its course. When water course during rains gets blocked, it leads to such disasters, he pointed out. The River Conservator had the authority to deny permissions when the River Conservation Act was violated, he stated.
The Chief Minister requested the Speaker to permit him to screen a letter written by the executive engineer concerned, in which it was stated that the maximum flood level is 22.60 m and the highest field level of the illegal constructions is 19.50 m.
Praja Vedika and other buildings were obstructing floods, he said.
The CM observed that when the chief minister himself flouts rules, others follow suit indiscriminately. He added that such actions could submerge Vijayawada.
Mr Reddy further remarked that on February 1, 2017 the Lokayukta had directed the collectors of Krishna and Guntur to remove such encroachments within six months. Hence, he had emphatically stated to IAS/IPS officers and senior officials at the Collectors’ Conference that “If we sit and hold meetings in such an illegally constructed hall we would be sending a wrong message to the people of the state.”
He observed that a poor man’s illegally constructed house would be pulled down in no time, but the rich and powerful were allowed to get away.
Mr Reddy said that a leader with 40 years of experience should be a role model and should have remembered that no one was above the law....