As reported by Koride Mahesh in The Times of India, Hyderabad Edition, on 14 May 2008:

Govt faces prickly question on statue

‘Does Geetha Reddy’s Mother Deserve The Honour?’

Hyderabad: In a question that would not sound as music to the ears of industries minister J Geetha Reddy, a resident of East Marredpally has sought to know why the statue of her mother J Eswari Bai has been put up in the city. The question has been asked under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

The resident, G M Menon, has invoked the Right to Information Act (RTI) to know the reason for installation of the statue at a prominent place like the St John’s circle in Secunderabad. Chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy unveiled the statue of Eswari Bai, a former president of the Republican Party of India, on February 24, 2007.

In his query to the municipal administration and urban development, Menon also sought to know what was the criteria adopted for installing statues of personalities in the city. He asked what was Eshwari Bai’s contribution to the development of the city in general and to East Marredpally in particular to deserve the honour. Menon also asked for the details of expenditure incurred for installing the statue, construction of a wall, development of island, etc.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials, however, are in a dilemma as to how to answer the embarrassing questions.

Minister Geeta Reddy had reportedly herself got the statue project approved by the CM. A year before the unveiling of the statue, the CM had accepted the Eshwari Bai memorial award 2006 in recognition of his efforts in uplifting the needy. With the directions from the chief minister’s office, the GHMC gave permission to the statue.

With a flood of applications from various political parties for putting up new statues in the city, a committee was formed by the state government three years ago to give permissions.

As per this, a committee headed by the district collector and with representatives of GHMC, roads and buildings and traffic police examine the proposal. The various criteria adopted includes the area proposed for the statue from the traffic point of view and stature of the personality. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the GHMC commissioner with the approval of the standing committee gives the nod, that must finally be ratified by the state government.

GHMC has permitted about half a dozen statues in the city since 2006 including that of T Anjaiah, Jyothirao Phule, Eshwari Bai and P Janardhan Reddy.

EYEBROWS RAISED: The statue of Eswari Bai, mother of minister G Geetha Reddy, at St John’s circle in Secunderabad

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