VIJAYAWADA: Will Vijayawada go the way of Old City of Hyderabad over a period of time? Is the city with its more than 2,000-year-old history going to face identity crisis and get relegated to the status of being a suburb to the new Capital Amaravati?
These are some of the concerns and apprehensions being raised by the concerned citizens of Vijayawada. No mention of any development plans for Vijayawada in the master plan for the new capital or any announcement by the government till date about what is in store for Vijayawada, which has already lost the opportunity to emerge as greater Vijayawada has only strengthened the fears of the citizens of the city.
“The way things are going today, with policy-makers having their entire focus on construction of the capital city and its development in exclusion to everything, what more can we expect? Since the government had announced the name of the new capital, everyone including media have started using the name Amaravathi instead of Vijayawada and concentrated more on what happens in that region. It is but an indication of things to come,” says PVSS Murthy.
“As we have seen what happened to Old City in Hyderabad, the real Hyderabad, with focus of development shifting to other emerging areas. People and their problems are only remembered during elections for votes. I fear, the situation in Vijayawada would be no different. When the government can plan for canals in the new capital, what about the existing ones in Vijayawada, which have many canals? “ he points out.
Another concerned citizen, who pleaded anomymity, points out at the government places and encroached canal bunds, hillocks in the city and says the government will not press for the development and beautification of those areas, which could help the city earn more revenue, for fear of alienating several sections of people and dent the vote banks. There are influential people who would not like to have the things changed for fear of losing their grip and will not bring the pressure on the government, even when the focus of development would shift.
“It seems no lessons were learnt from what happened in Hyderabad, if the present developments are taken into consideration,” he said.
Retired Prof. MC Das, who had served previously on several committees including District Tourism Projects Development Committee, says only the name of Vijayawada was used while nothing was done for it. “It was first supposed to be capital and then temporary capital of reorganised state, but it never happened. It lost to ‘Amaravathi’. In 2008, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) had resolved to have greater Vijayawada by merging 14 -16 village, but it got shelved with advent of CRDA. Now, all it can look for is being like a suburb to the new capital,” he said.
There are about 100 different development projects including 20 tourism projects that are still pending. One of such project was The View Tower, which was supposed to provide a bird’s eye view of the entire city. Underground drainage system is half completed and the width of roads is no longer sufficient for increasing traffic.
Focus on the new capital, will make the policy- makers put the development issues of Vijayawada on the backburner for some time, opined several speakers in recently held round table on special category status to the state.