An avid ambition to create the Greater Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (GVMC), a long-pending proposal, seems to be a distant dream with local politics playing spoilsport.
The VMC officials have reportedly decided to put the proposal once again on the back-burner and the greater city will not be a reality before 2014 elections. Stiff resistance from the ruling Congress party leaders is said to be the main reason behind the shelving of the proposal.
VMC commissioner G Suvarna Panda Das had asked the district panchayat officer to see that the proposed gram panchayats pass resolutions in favour of the merger.
Following this, special officers of the gram panchayats issued orders on Jan 25. But after a couple of days, they were asked not to comply with the earlier orders. These panchyats are under the special officers’ rule since Sept 2011 as the term of the elected bodies was over by that time.
“We had received oral instructions from district panchayat office to hold the orders,” said an official at divisional panchayat office, Vijayawada.
The VMC city planner, S Chakrapani said the civic body wanted to merge a total of 45 villages under Vijayawada rural, Kankipadu, Penamaluru, Ibrahimpatnam and Gannnaravaram mandals for the inclusive development of the city in view of their rapid growth.
The VMC passed the resolution seeking merger of only 15 villages with an extent of 125.52 sq km. in 2007. But later, it decided to merge 30 more villages with an extent of 216.30 sq km, pegging the total area to more than 403 sq km, from the existing 61.88 sq km, according to the VMC. Hence, the population will touch to 15 lakh from the present 10.5 lakh.
Speaking to Express, central MLA Malladi Vishnu said he is against the greater city as it would not benefit the villages. He wondered how the VMC, which is unable to provide water and other facilities to the city, would extend its service to the villages that are faraway from the core city. He opined that the creation would not help to get any additional funds as it was already included in the JNNURM scheme.
On the other hand, people of the proposed villages are worried about its poignant affects including additional financial burden.
A former Sarapanch of Kesarapally, Neelam Mahodaya Antony said they are not expecting any development with the merger of the village into the VMC. He also feared the hike in taxes.
Similarly, the residents of Patapadu village with a population of 3,000 are also opposing the merger.
A local, B. Adinarayana said their agriculture lands would be vanished with urbanisation and they would become unemployed. But, an advocate form Gannavaram, Alla Krishna Kishore said creation of the greater city would help in facilitating a systematic development.
Meanwhile, CPM city secretary Ch Baburao asked the officials to do a scientific study of the proposal. He said there should be some provision to avoid the hike in taxes even after the merger.
He asked the officials to hold talks with all the stakeholders and political parties before making a decision.
However, it is learnt that Congress leaders are trying to halt the greater city as they fear that the TDP would get good hold over voters in the ensuing local body elections, affecting their clout in the cooperation.
Realtors are also opposing the merger as they have to get the permissions from the VMC too for making layouts, said a VMC official.