MACHILIPATNAM:Will the fate of Machilipatnam change, if it becomes a municipal corporation? This is one big question playing on the minds of people in the district headquarters town of Krishna district.
In the recent Cabinet meeting, it was decided to upgrade the district headquarters of Krishna, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam districts as municipal corporations.
At present, Machilipatnam is a special grade municipality with 1.7 lakh population.
An ancient port town on the east coast of India, Machilipatnam enjoyed fame as one of the earliest municipalities in the country.
It was formed in 1866, when Vijayawada was just a village panchayat. But over the years, for numerous reasons, foremost being the neglect in development of viable infrastructure facilities and creation of employment avenues, it fell out of favour of the people.
Many had migrated in search of employment and the population had decreased gradually over a period of time due to it, which is quite contrary to what is happening in other district headquarters across the country.
Though development of seaport at Machilipatnam is in the offing and Navyug had bagged the contract, the works are yet to take off as the land acquisition process is still in the preliminary stages.
Though the government had decided to upgrade the status of the town as a municipal corporation, there are several problems that need to be addressed before the decision can get translated into reality. The first hurdle is to change the rules pertaining to creation of municipal corporation. To upgrade a municipality into municipal corporation, the population should exceed three lakhs.
According to sources, to get qualified for becoming a municipal corporation it is being contemplated to merge surrounding villages like Sultan Nagaram, Ullipalem, Pothepalli, Naveen Mittal Colony, Kara Agraharam, Chinnapuram with Machilipatnam.
There is also a proposal to merge Pedana Municipality with Machilipatnam. Pedana is about 7 km from the district headquarters town. Other hurdles in the way include whether the people of those villages are willing for the merger.
Officials are hopeful that once the port development works commence, the employment opportunities too will increase and the people will start returning to the port town. But the question remains how long it will take for that to happen.
PLACES TO BE MERGED
■ SULTAN NAGARAM