A board that mentions Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation slum improvement project with Overseas Development Assistance on one side and a brimming garbage bin on the other side lead to Pithani Dibba.
A century ago, the place was a one-stop destination for fresh toddy where a few of Pithani’s family used to sell ‘kallu’. With naturally formed sand dunes and palm trees bordering the entire neighbourhood, the locality turned out to be a convenient location for toddy tapping.
Since Pithani family members were selling the drink, the area derived its name from a combination of the persons who sold it and the scenic setting .
From a couple of thatched huts sans basic amenities, Pithani Dibba saw signs of growth once Viskhapatnam Municipal Corporation and ODA started developing the colony under slum improvement scheme about four decades ago. Over 1,000 people have been living here for generations ever since.
At 10 a.m. in the morning, a flurry of activity is witnessed all around as the roads teem with sellers.
“About 80 per cent of people belong to low income groups and the remaining work in government departments and private organisations. Most of the residents work as domestic workers, tailors and auto drivers and some run roadside eateries to eke out a living,” says N. Chitti Babu, retired NSTL employee residing in the colony.
Bangaramma is the village goddess where annual jatara will be organised in May. Briefing on the main issue faced by the colony residents, president of Pithani Dibba Residents Welfare Association N. Appa Rao said: “Some of the descendants of Pithani claim that the entire colony belongs to them. Though we have been living here since generations, they have filed a case in the court asking us to vacate the area.”