Mohammad Affanul Haque
Gudur, Andhra Pradesh: A little over a year ago, when cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar decided to adopt the village of Puttamraju Kandriga in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, he could not even pronounce its name in a proper manner. Fast forward a year, Puttamraju Kandriga is a famous village in the country, the villagers cannot stop thanking the cricket legend and the former Joint Collector of Nellore, Mrs. Rekha Rani for their effort in making the village what it is today!
Home to over 400 people in 110 houses, Puttamraju Kandriga is a village belonging to the backward castes who eke out a living for themselves by growing lemon and red chillies.
Mrs. Rani has since been replaced by Mr. Mohammad Imtiaz who is now the Joint Collector, and has taken his predecessors’ efforts forward. The district administration had granted Rs. 3.6 crore for developing the village, and Rs. 2.79 crore came for the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Fund (MPLAD) Scheme at the disposal of Sachin Tendulkar as a Rajya Sabha member.
Concrete roads with tiled pavements, an underground sewage network with a treatment plant, storm-water drains, 24-hour water and power supply, a playground, a community hall and a soon to be market complex are some of the various infrastructural developments that have taken place since the adoption of the village by the cricket god.
“The village has now achieved celebrity status,” says V. Bala Subramanyam, Member of Legislative Council from Nellore. He adds that the all-round focus of the administration to improve the infrastructure, livelihoods and social aspects is the reason for the success of the village.
“We had no roads, no toilets in our homes nor did we have running water and uninterrupted power supply till Sachin adopted our village. Today, we have all of those along with excellent roads,” says T. Venkatrama, a local political leader from the Telugu Desam Party, with a mixture of happiness and pride.
The Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company has spent Rs. 1.74 lakh to set up a 11KV feeder which will supply power to the village throughout the day. The community centre which was built at a cost of Rs. 1.15 crore has been used regularly by the villagers for small functions. The State Government has also built an Anganwadi school which boasts of modern teaching facilities for teachers and students alike.
For the villagers who have a photograph of Sachin Tendulkar on their house board, this comes as a dream come true. They plan on inviting Sachin again and this time to take part in a cricket tournament in their new cricket field in the heart of the village.
The village Sarpanch, Nageshwara Rao says, “We are very happy with what is happening in the village, but there are a few things we would like to ask Sachin garu when he comes to see the progress.” For instance, the villagers who don’t have their own land often go out and work as daily wage laborers. Rao wants a small-scale industry to be set up in the village so that the women do not go out in search of work.
Chief Planning Officer, K.T. Venkaiah says that, “The district administration plans to build 70 houses in the village under the NTR Housing Scheme so that the backward caste villagers get to stay in proper house instead of the makeshift huts.”
Having put in a lot of work, the model village now waits for Sachin to come and be bowled over by the development