Lord Rama’s abode yearns for development

Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple in Bhadrachalam in Khammam district in Telangana. DH photo

Known as the ‘Ayodhya of South’, this famous abode of Lord Rama in Telangana’s Khammam district is crying for much-needed attention.

Locals say though the TRS promised to develop the temple town and put it on the national map, nothing has moved so far — the town does not even have a dumping yard forcing people to throw garbage into River Godavari.

Though a CPM citadel, the Communist party is on the backfoot in this constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribes since several villages which overwhelmingly voted for the party have now been transferred to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

With the Peoples’ Alliance fielding a Congress candidate and TRS preferring T Venkat Rao, a doctor who was in the government service, the electoral contest promises to be interesting. With the traditional CPM’s votes going to the neighbouring state, locals say the TRS candidate might have an edge only because of the goodwill he enjoys in his personal capacity. But the Congress is also in a strong position, thanks to its tie-up with the TDP.

Locals are also angry with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao for not participating in ‘Ram Navami’ festival at Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple for the past two years. Khammam district is dominated by migrants from coastal Andhra Pradesh due to its proximity to the region.

“When Andhra Pradesh was united, chief ministers, irrespective of their religion, used to visit Bhadrachalam to participate in Ram Navami festivities. KCR did not participate in the festivities and this has spawned a sense of neglect among locals,” Rama Rao, who runs a restaurant in this temple town, told DH.

KCR, as chief minister, visited Bhadrachalam only once in the past four-and-a-half years and has not fulfilled his promise of allotting Rs 100 crore to develop this town, locals alleged. “He announced Rs 100 crore and we are sure not even Re 1 was allotted to the town for its development. It is one of the major pilgrimage centres in Telangana and you can see for yourself the cleanliness,” Narasaiah, another resident, said pointing to the filth near the temple.

M Yerrababu, who lives in near-by Turubaga village, says the temple town needs immediate attention in terms of development. “Nothing has happened in the past five years in Bhadrachalam. We thought since Telangana is a new state, the government might focus its attention on the temple town and we are only disappointed at the end. No infrastructure upgrade has taken place,” he said.

Locals say since near-by villages have been transferred to Andhra Pradesh, there is no place to dump garbage — the Godavari is bearing all the brunt. Also, they allege no initiative was taken to upgrade roads and infrastructure after a new state came into being.

Though the TRS nominee, Venkat Rao, is involved in intense campaigning, none of the leaders from his party has so far come to this temple town for canvassing.

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