Tough time in store for sanitation workers

At the conclusion of the four-day jatara of Samakka - Sarakka at Medaram today, the focus has now shifted to sanitation of the temple surroundings in a radius of 30 kms which is littered with garbage, human and animal waste, cooked food, dust, stagnant water and several other edible offerings to the deities.

The government has deployed about 1,800 sanitation workers from Warangal, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Annavaram and Tenali to clean up the entire area over the next one week to ten days but the villagers of Medaram and the adjacent Reddygudem, Kannepalli, Narlapalli and Urattam will have a tough time bearing the bad smell and odour.

The district administration estimated 1.25 crore visitors to the jatara who set up makeshift accommodation for two to three days. They cooked food and left the un-cleaned paper plates beside attending to their nature calls nearby.

The discarded liquor bottles and stagnant water near the tents added to the unhygienic conditions.

According to V. Chandramouli, District Panchayat Officer (DPO) of Jaishanker - Bhoopalpalli district, about 11,000 toilets were constructed at 500 to 600 locations but there was no way open defacation could be prevented in forest and agricultural fields.

The garbage was regularly collected in drums and gathered at spots that were enclosed. It was shifted to dump yards by tractors.

Jaggery and chicken waste, the latter which decomposed within 24 days, poses the biggest threat to hygiene as they attract flies and mosquitoes.

The huge mounds of jaggery that was offered by pilgrims was shifted to nearby houses by contractors who purchased the stocks. Broken coconuts and other offerings in plastic carry bags which were heaped around the temple added to the menace. Decayed vegetables were strewn around.

C. Suresh Babu, DPO of Siddipet, who was one of the two special officers deputed by the government to oversee sanitation, said hair is also strewn at places where pilgrims tonsured their heads as offering and took the holy dip in Jampanna Vagu.

The tents left behind by pilgrims gathered dust. They were set up paying rents ranging from ₹ 2,000 to 10,000 to land owners depending on demand. The lands were meant for agriculture but the owners gave up cropping and turned them into a commercial venture for the jatara.

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