VISAKHAPATNAM: Giving top priority to complete its pending projects, Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority is making efforts to bring all ongoing projects to a logical end. It has geared up to generate funds by taking up land development works in and around the city. Overcoming hurdles in executing various projects, the VUDA is now looking for a three-pronged strategy - planning, regulation and development. With several international standard projects on its platter, including sports complex, outer ring road, housing projects, infrastructural facilities and completion of the Vizag Metropolitan Region master plan etc., the VUDA has decided not to look for government funding and instead, planned to generate funds through its own land resources spread within its purview of 6,573 sqkm. In an interview to TNIE, VUDA vice-chairman T Baburao Naidu revealed various challenges in the execution of the ongoing projects and plans for upcoming projects.
Why VUDA projects like Central Park, Children’s Theatre and housing projects like Haritha could not be executed within the prescribed timeframe?
True, the projects were delayed for various reasons. But during the last one year, we have been bringing each project to a logical end. The Telugu Heritage Museum, Buddha Vanam, Simhachalam Road and Kailasagiri development works have been completed and new projects have been commenced. The Central Park located in the heart of the city was completed but for the Water World in an extent of two acre. The park will shortly be inaugurated by chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The Haritha housing project was also completed. The VUDA children theatre is being renovated by importing material from Germany so that the construction withstands even winds with a speed of 250 kmph.
What are the new challenges for VUDA?
No organisation will sustain unless it changes its functioning as per the fast-changing world and its requirements. The VUDA is no exception and it has its share of challenges. Creation of infrastructure facilities, land development works and new gated community housing projects are the front row plans of the VUDA. We are not looking at the government for funds and are planning to mobilise funds through development and sale of VUDA lands. The government has given its nod for outsourcing works to experts.
Would the urban infrastructure corporation (UIC), proposed by the government, be a competitor to the VUDA?
Never, in fact UIC will be a supplement to the VUDA. We will work in tandem.
How much land is available with the VUDA and what are the plans to bring the land into utilisation?
In fact, 11,000 acres of land has been given to the VUDA. However, 4,000 acres of it was allotted to various institutions and in the rest of 7,000 acre, the major part is covered by hillocks and water bodies. At present, the VUDA has only 2,500 acre ready for development. We appointed an international consultancy, CBRE, to study the land parcels for the techno economic feasibility. The consultant has conducted study in eight land parcels of 2,500 acres. The consultancy suggested the VUDA to take up gated housing projects and mixed land utilisation projects among others.
What is the response for the land development activities?
Already, the VUDA received land development works in an extent of 500 acre at five locations, including Kommadi, SR Puram and Girijala. With this, the VUDA will get good share of returns and could attend to various projects, including the flyover construction at the NAD Junction and the Sports Complex at Gandigundam.
The chief minister, on several occasions, has said that the National Games would be held in Visakhapatnam in 2019. Will the proposed Sports Complex be ready to host the National Games?
It is a big project and estimated to cost `480 crore. Already, the plans and design were approved by the chief minister and there is enough time to complete the project.
Why is the VMR Master Plan is not completed? What are the reasons for the delay?
Due to the state bifurcation agitations and several others issues, the VMR Master Plan could not be completed. Further, the VUDA jurisdiction has been increased from 5,573 sq.km to 6,764 sq.km. The tenders were awarded to Lee and Associates and it will be completed by 2018 covering the entire VUDA area.
The VUDA has identified several lands for developing the existing infrastructure facilities. What are they?
During the past two decades, there is a big change in the city. According to the needs of the city, the VUDA identified 83 locations for further development. The government has empowered the vice-chairman to change buildings and land to commercial category. We have identified various locations, which were earlier residential areas but now grown to be potential commercial locations. The VUDA has also identified 23 roads to a length of 170 km for further development. Example: the road between the Zoo Park and Visakha Valley School to be widened and the school will lose some extent of its building. There is 3,000 acres of land coming under CRZ. The VUDA has decided to develop 1,200 acres of that land and dialogue is on with the CRZ and the NIO.