Gódávari/Chapter 14

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CHAPTER XIV.

LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT.


The Local Boards—The Unions—Finances of the Boards. The Two Municipalities—Cocanada municipality—Rajahmundry municipality.

Outside the two municipalities of Cocanada and Rajahmundry referred to below, and excluding Bhadráchalam taluk in the Agency, local affairs (roads, hospitals, schools and sanitation) are in the hands of the District Board and four taluk boards subordinate to it. The areas in charge of these latter have been changed from time to time, and the most recent alteration was effected in April 1905. The four boards are now those of Cocanada, in charge of the Cocanada taluk and the Pithápuram and Tuni divisions; Peddápuram, with jurisdiction over the taluks of Peddápuram and Rámachandrapuram; Rajahmundry, comprising the Rajahmundry, Amalápuram and Nagaram taluks; and Pólavaram, which administers matters in the Agency divisions of Pólavaram, Chódavaram and Yellavaram.

Prior to 1902 none of the Agency tracts were included within the operation of the Local Boards Act, and the roads, educational and medical institutions, and sanitation within them were in charge of the Revenue authorities, aided by advice from the Public Works and other expert departments. In 1902 the whole of the Agency as it then existed was brought under the Act; but in 19O5 [1] Bhadráchalam was withdrawn again from its operation and is to be managed henceforth on the same system as was in force before 1902. The taluk is remote, thinly-populated and covered with jungle; and the income derivable within it from the ordinary sources of taxation provided for by the Local Boards Act is quite insufficient to meet the expenditure which is necessary. Heavy contributions towards its local needs have consequently always been made from Provincial funds. The same state of things exists in the three Agency divisions which make up the charge of the present Pólavaram taluk board, and a similar contribution to its exchequer has been necessary to save it from insolvency. Fifteen of the larger towns in the district have been constituted unions with the usual powers and functions. These are Dowlaishweram, Amalápuram and Kottapéta under the Rajahmundry taluk board; Peddápuram, Jagapatinagaram, Yelésvaram, Jaggampéta, Rámachandrapuram, Drákshárámam, Mandapéta and Bikkavólu under the Peddápuram board; and Gollamámidáda, Samalkot, Pithápuram and Tuni under the taluk board of Cocanada. The chief item in their receipts is (as elsewhere) the house-tax, which is everywhere levied at the maximum rates. The average tax per house for 1905-06 is estimated to work out to As. 12-I

The separate Appendix to this volume contains statistics of the receipts and expenditure of the various local boards. The chief source of income is, as usual, the land cess, which is levied at the ordinary rate of one anna in every rupee of the land assessment. The chief item of expenditure is the upkeep of the roads and the medical and educational institutions. These have already been referred to in Chapters VII, IX, and X respectively.

The only two municipal towns are Cocanada and Rajahmundry. In the separate Appendix appear particulars of the receipts and expenditure of their councils.

Cocanada was one of the municipalities established under the first regular municipal act (Madras Act X of 1865) and the council was constituted in 1866. It now consists of twenty members of whom eight are nominated and twelve elected. The privilege of electing its own chairman was conferred upon the council in 1886, was withdrawn in 1893, but was restored again in 1897. The appointment of a paid secretary was sanctioned in 1899. He is selected by the municipal council subject to the approval of Government.

Several considerable permanent improvements have been effected in the town by the municipality. First in importance come the Victoria water-works, which were completed in June 1903. The water is obtained from the Samalkot canal, and a large reservoir to contain two months' supply has been excavated in the water-works premises. The scheme was designed to supply 400,000 gallons of water per diem (at the rate of 10 gallons per head of the population of the town) and the supply is expected to be perennial. The water is drawn from the reservoir just mentioned through filter beds into a second reservoir, and is thence distributed throughout the town by cast-iron pipes and fountains. Three Worthington engines of 10 horse power each are employed in the works. The cost of the scheme was estimated at Rs. 4,66,200, but actually 198 GODAVARI. CHAP. XIV. The Two {{ Munici- palities. Rajahmun- dry munici- pality. amounted to only Rs. 4,44,800. Of this sum Rs. 1,44,500 were lent by Government. The scheme was carried out by the Public Works department. Other permanent improvements effected by the council are the construction, at an outlay of Rs. 18,137, of the bridge across the Yeleru; the revetting of the harbour creek for a length of some 270 yards at a cost of Rs. 8,000 in 1902-03 and the reclamation and laying out of a considerable strip of ground formerly covered by the creek; the building of three public markets, the two larger of which cost Rs. 15,000; and the erection of two slaughter-houses costing Rs. 4,000 and of three municipal school-houses at an average cost of some Rs. 1,500 apiece. The clock tower near the bridge was constructed by a private gentleman some 20 years ago, but the municipality contributed Rs. 1,000 to its erection and it now has charge of the building.

No drainage scheme has yet been prepared for Cocanada, but a portion of the town is served by the main sewer leading into the harbour creek which was constructed by the Public Works department at a cost of Rs. 10,000 out of Provincial funds some years ago. Some smaller branch drains lead into this, and the municipality has kept both these and the main sewer in repair at considerable cost.

The council's chief contributions to the medical and educational institutions within the town include the aiding of ten primary schools, the management of a lower secondary and twelve more primary schools, and the upkeep of a hospital and dispensary. The municipality at Rajahmundry was also founded in 1866. The council originally consisted of ten members, but since 1895 the number has been eighteen. The right of electing some of the members was granted in 1884, and twelve councillors and the chairman are now appointed by election. A paid secretary was first entertained in 1897-98. He is selected by the council, subject to the approval of Government.

Very few permanent improvements of any magnitude have been executed by the municipality. Drinking-water is obtained from the Godavari river and the Kambala tank, and nothing of note has been done from municipal funds to improve the supply. Similarly no considerable improvement in the drainage has been eifected or worked out. Three markets have been constructed and two slaughter-houses. A choultry founded in 1873 by Mr. H. Morris, a former Judge, and called by his name was completed by the municipality in 1874 at a cost of Rs. 1,500, A rest-house for homeless poor has been constructed at an outlay of Rs. 500, and additions are being made to it in order to accommodate lepers and persons suffering from other incurable diseases.

The council has partly supported the hospital in the town since 1871, and keeps up four upper primary, four lower primary, and one lower secondary school. It also maintains the Morris choultry, two other small institutions called the Kambham and Durbha choultries, and a travellers' bungalow.

Government have sanctioned Rs. 16,000 for revetting the river bank to prevent further erosion, which was becoming alarming, and a bund to protect the town from inundation during heavy floods is in contemplation.


  1. See G.O. No. 227 L., dated 27th February 1905.