First roads, then votes: Tribals in Visakhapatnam protest by travelling on horses


VISAKHAPATNAM: The tribals of Madrebu village of Anantgiri Mandal in Visakhapatnam district staged a protest by travelling on horses through the forests to demand road facilities to their villages on Sunday.

The protesters warned that they would boycott voting on May 13 unless the government addresses their transportation needs. It is alleged that the figures show that crores of funds have been spent for the Adivasis, but the development works are not seen in reality.

Govind Raju who is the tribal association leader, said, “For us, horses are cargo buses to transport agricultural produce to local markets for sale. Additionally, we use horses as ambulances to take patients or full-term pregnant women to health centres.”

Raju also alleged that there is no change in the lives of tribals, no matter how many governments change and added, “They depend on the forest to survive and are facing many problems with lack of minimal infrastructure. There is no road to go to the hospital in an emergency.”

The tribal leader also complained about the medical facilities and said, “There is no medical facility nearby. To go to the hospital, one has to cross streams and bends or carry a dolly. In this case, many pregnant women have given birth in the forest… At a time when the general elections are approaching in Andhra Pradesh, the tribals of Alluri district have launched an innovative protest.”

Earlier, Former MP Botsa Jhansi Lakshmi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections on the YSRCP ticket from Visakhapatnam on May 4 had asserted that Vizag (Visakhapatnam) is a well-developed city with advantageous geographical positioning and robust connectivity, drawing the attention of global investors. It is rapidly growing, and ranked as the ninth richest city in the country for contributing a significant USD 43.5 billion to the GDP, the former MP said that the city is set to emerge as a vital financial growth engine for the state.

She further said that the advancement of North Andhra depends upon the development of Vizag.

“‘Vision Visakhapatnam’ is our vision document that will redefine the history of Visakhapatnam. The city is endowed with a wealth of geographical elements poised for transformation. Vizag is the place for pristine beaches, extensive railway connectivity, and air connectivity with an international airport. Connecting with multiple states, Vizag has good road connectivity, which can help in transforming Vizag into a tier 1 city. Under the leadership of CM YS Jagan, revolutionary strides have been made in education and healthcare,” she had said.

She also claimed that the Andhra Government’s initiatives, such as Amma vodi, Asara, Cheyuta, Pension Kanuka, Rythu Bharosa, and Vahana Mitra, have been instrumental in uplifting the underprivileged.

Notably, Andhra Pradesh has 25 Lok Sabha seats and the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh will be simultaneously held on May 13.

In the 2019 Assembly elections, the YSRCP won with a thumping majority of 151 seats, while the TDP was confined to 23 seats. In the Lok Sabha polls, the YSRCP won 22 seats, while the TDP could only win three seats. (ANI)

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