Hyderabad expansion sparks UT fear

The geographical area of Greater Hyderabad will increase from the present 625 sq. km to nearly 900 sq. km if the state government has its way. There is a proposal to merge about 25 gram panchayats, with urban characteristics and contiguous city borders, with the state capital. The proposal has come in for sharp criticism from the leaders of political parties. Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLA T. Harish Rao said it is a conspiracy to expand the city into a bigger geographical area, so that it can be separated as Union Territory after Telangana is granted statehood. “The TRS opposes the expansion of the city,” he said. BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy, said the GHMC has failed to develop the 12 surrounding municipalities, which were merged with the core city, to form Greater Hyderabad in April 2007. “It appears that the merger is being done with an ulterior motive. Moreover, it will benefit only the real estate developers and will be an advantage to a few politicians,” he said. MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said the merger of gram panchayats will be a burden on the city.

hyderabad utStating that the merger of Gram Panchayats with the state capital will be a burden on the city, MIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said, “As it is the GHMC is struggling to maintain roads, garbage clearance, streetlights in the city. How many times will they expand the city and for what purpose unless there is some other motive?” Urban development experts, however, said that unless a special financial package for development of infrastructure in these villages is announced, the amalgamation will burden the villagers with higher taxes. Even Water Conservation activists said the expansion of the city should be done depending upon the availability of water. Joint Action for Water president Dr D. Narasimha Reddy, said already there is huge gap between the demand and supply of water in the city. While the demand is 450 MGD, the supply is less than 340 MGD. It may be mentioned that two weeks ago, the state government issued a draft notification informing its intentions to merge 25 of the total 38 gram panchayats into the city. Of the 38, the route is clear for 10 GPs as the government has the approval of GHMC. The approval was given by GHMC special officer on November 13, 2008 when there was no elected body. Now, it needs to complete the formality of seeking objections and suggestions for which it issued a notification, two weeks back.

For another 15 GPs, the Government needs GHMC-elected body’s approval and has written to it. There is a court stay on merger of the remaining 13 GPs. There’s a proposal to merge 25 gram panchayats — Satamrai, Manikonda, Narsingi, Kokapet, Puppalguda, Peerancheruvu, Hydershakotla, Bandlaguda Jagir, Balapur and Nizampet All 10 has approval of GHMC Special Officer. The other 15 are Kothwalguda, Gandipet, Vattinagulapalli, Neknampur, Khanapur, Manchirrevula, Kismatpur, Himayatsagar, Kalwancha, Jillelaguda, Kothapeta, Meerpet, Pahadishareef, Jawaha-rnagar and Dammaiguda. The Court stay is on Shamshabad, Kompally, Bachupally, Pragathinagar, Dulapally, Peerzadiguda, Nagaram, Gundla Pochampally, Chengicherla, Medipally, Boduppal, Jalpally and Parvathapur.

Former Mayor Teegala Krishna Reddy, of the TD, said the gram panchayats should be first upgraded as nagar panchayats. “The government should concentrate on improving the sanitation in Greater Hyderabad which is deteriorating by the day. During the TD regime, the city got clean and green awards and today it has been reduced into a dirty city,” he said.

– DC

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