'Merge our villages back in Telangana'; protests on AP border

The demand for the demerger of five villages near Bhadrachalam and return them to Telangana


BHADRACHALAM: The demand for the demerger of five villages near Bhadrachalam and return them to Telangana is fast gaining momentum with several political parties throwing their weight behind the villagers. Several people from these villagers, along with leaders and activists of political parties from both the Telugu states, staged a dharna and blocked vehicular traffic on the AP-Telangana border on Sunday to press for their demand.

In fact, protests have been going on the inter-state border over the last several days ever since Telangana Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar stirred the hornet's nest and mooted the demand while reviewing the devastation in Bhadrachalam caused by the recent floods. The panchayats of the five villages – Piichukalapadu, Kannaigudem, Gundala, Yetapaka and Purushotthapatnam – are currently part of the Alluri Sitharama Raju district in Andhra Pradesh.

At the time of the bifurcation of then undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2014, these villages were part of the Khammam district in Telangana. But a month later, they went to the residuary state as part of the seven revenue mandals that were merged with Andhra Pradesh. The Centre came up with an executive order to this effect in view of the prospect of submergence from the Polavaram project in AP which it had announced as a national project.

The villagers of these five panchayats in particular feel that their merger hadn't resulted in any new bridges being built with the people of Andhra Pradesh. These villages are closer to Bhadrachalam, both geographically and culturally. They are within a five-six kilometre distance from the temple town.

During their protests, the villagers and political leaders echoed the same sentiment: "There was hardly anything that Andhra Pradesh benefitted from this eight-year-old merger. But on the flipside, these five villages will benefit a great deal if they are merged back with Telangana. They will have the entitlement for all the development works and welfare scheme implemented in Bhadrachalam," K Sambasiva Rao, former MLA of Communist Party of India (CPI) from Kothagudem, observed.

He demanded the Centre to immediately initiate measures for the demerger of the five villages from Andhra Pradesh and have restored to Telangana again.

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