Though the proposal to merge two municipal areas of Anakapalle and Bheemili was mooted in 2009, the senior staff of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation do not seem very happy at the prospect.
In view of the master plan development, coastal corridor and a speedy growth industrial development in the region, there is a big need to develop the Anakapalle and Bheemili sub-urban areas. However, annual income of the two municipalities is insufficient to provide even basic needs to the population.
Since merging the two with GVMC will mean more funds from the union urban development ministry, the corporation is looking forward to extend its limits.
When the merger-proposal was initially considered in 2009, it was fastidiously opposed by several corporators, MLAs and MPs. However, since Feb 2012, the GVMC has come under special officer ruling, and as there are few objections from public representatives, the government is planning to speed up the merger.
The public in general too seems to be for the unification. “The two municipalities have been facing severe financial crisis for the last 10 years, with the demand for basic needs increasing by five times. Even drinking water is not easily available. Since the municipality in itself is not in a position to maintain good sanitation and roads, the towns will witness at least some development if the merger takes place,” V Srinivasa Rao, government teacher, said.
But a few senior officials oppose the proposal as GVMC is already struggling to provide basic infrastructure to some of the 32 gram panchayats which were merged with its limits in 2006. “Aiming to draw huge funds in the name of corporations, the merger has been proposed. However, there are several difficulties. Several demands such as roads, lightings and drainage which will be expected after the merger cannot be met in the near future,” a senior GVMC official of the city planning wing told Express.
If the government strictly follows the unification, there are about 20 villages which have to taken under its wing. “The higher-ups are only thinking of the funds they would receive from the Centre. But the money will not be sufficient. We would again have to run from pillar to post to develop the sub-urban areas. But the top brass seems to be no mood to listen. They only want their instructions to be implemented,” the official lamented.
Senior official of the municipal administration and urban development say the administration is centralising power, which poses a serious problem in the civic bodies.
A finance officer said, “If the government wishes to develop the municipalities, there are several ways to do that. It is forcing its decisions on the people.”