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- Interest waiver on property tax to affect Visakhapatnam civic body's coffers
In fact, the GVMC has to adjust the interest, if already paid by taxpayers on arrears and on current year’s demand during this financial year, towards future property tax payments.Umamaheswara Rao | TNN | March 03, 2019, 15:15 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) may suffer a substantial loss in revenue due to the state government’s recent order to waive interest on arrears and current year dues on property tax. The waiver will be applicable to those who pay the total arrears and the current year’s tax together before March 31.
In fact, the GVMC has to adjust the interest, if already paid by taxpayers on arrears and on current year’s demand during this financial year, towards future property tax payments.
Although this will benefit thousands of taxpayers, the GVMC will have to bear a cost of around Rs 25-Rs 30 crore.
The total property tax arrears of the top 100 defaulters is around Rs 52 crore. Tax arrears of some of these institutions date back to 1995-96. While the tax arrears is Rs 22.3 crore, penalty on the arrears is also about Rs 22.3 crore.
The property tax due in the current year for these institutions is estimated to be around Rs 7.4 crore, while the interest is around Rs 56 lakh. Waiving interest on tax arrears, for these institutions alone will be a big blow to the GVMC exchequer. The timing of the waiver, just before the general elections, has also become a point of discussion.
Currently, the GVMC levies a simple interest of 2% on property tax for half a year, if the tax is not paid by the end of the first quarter (June) of a particular financial year. The same taxation formula is applicable to the second half and tax has to be paid by the end of December to avoid penalty.
The civic body in recent times has been exploring various options to increase its revenue collection other than hiking tax in recent times. The corporation has set a target of collecting about Rs 300 crore in property tax, including vacant land tax, new assessments and revision of the tax structure for some households.
GVMC deputy commissioner (revenue) R Somannarayana has asked the public to utilise the opportunity to clear all dues. “We have renewed our focus on strengthening tax collection system and made the collection process a continuous, rigorous exercise rather than limiting it to a few months. We expect that long-pending defaulters will come forward and clear their arrears in the next two weeks after the state government announced the waiver,” Somannarayana said.
- Providing adequate water should be part of election agenda, say residents V Kamalakara Rao | tnn | Mar 22, 2019, 09:21 IST
Visakhapatnam: Drinking water supply has emerged as one of the prime problems troubling Visakhapatnam city. Almost all seven assembly segments under the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) have not had proper water supply for decades.
As per the 2011 census, nearly 44% of 4.5 lakh households come under the slum category. The inadequate supply of water should be part of the main election agenda for every contestant, irrespective of political party, said a source in the GVMC.
The GVMC is supposed to supply 156 litres of water per head per day, but it is currently able to supply only 100-110 litres.
Residents of Arilova, which falls under Visakhapatnam East assembly constituency, have been spending sleepless nights over the last few weeks due to the inadequate supply of water.
A resident of Arilova, K Prabhakar said, “We have been facing water problems over decades. The politicians promised to solve the problem during the 2014 polls, but there has been no change till date. Our top demand is that of proper water supply.” Speaking to TOI, a senior GVMC official said that construction of permanent reservoirs with a capacity of 5 TMC is required in order to meet the city’s water requirements and maintain a supply of 156 litres of water per head per day against the current supply of only 100-110 litres.
If 5 TMC of water is stored, the GVMC will be able to supply water to the public for a year without any trouble, officials added. The main water source for the reservoirs is the Polavaram project on the Godavari river.
- Visakhapatnam development body all set to sell last 20 row houses
These 20 row houses were earlier leased out to the Andhra Pradesh Human Resource Development Institute (APHRDI) in 2017 to accommodate its trainees.Umamaheswara Rao | TNN | April 16, 2019, 17:00 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) has decided to sell the remaining 20 duplex houses in its Rushikonda row housing project.
These 20 row houses were earlier leased out to the Andhra Pradesh Human Resource Development Institute (APHRDI) in 2017 to accommodate its trainees. These were recently surrendered the APHRDI found space in a nearby housing colony to accommodate their trainees. Priced at Rs 74 lakh each, the VMRDA estimates that the sale of these houses would fetch them about Rs 15 crore.
The row housing project is nestled between two IT hills at Rushikonda. It was developed on an area of 6.78 acres close to the Visakhapatnam-Bheemili beach road as a gated community. VMRDA had provided various amenities such as solar fencing and water heaters for each housing units.
Even though the VMRDA had developed the sea-facing row housing project many years ago, there were no takers. The VMRDA then rented out some villas to the APHRDI in 2017 to increase the prospects of the saleability as well as to earn some revenue. In the last two years, the VMRDA successfully sold all the remaining villas, other than those rented out to APHRDI.
Speaking to TOI, VMRDA metropolitan commissioner P Basanth Kumar said that they sold 23 duplex houses in the last one and half years. “There has been many inquiries, even for the villas leased out to the APHRDI. So we have now decided to sale them as well and are inviting applications from the public. Six villas out of the 20 have already been sold out in the last few days,” said Basanth Kumar.
The VMRDA built the duplex houses in four categories. The B-category houses, which are now on sale, were constructed each in an area of about 173 square yards. Each house gets plinth area of about 2,100 square feet. The price of Rs 74 lakh is said to be cheaper, considering the market price of each square yard of about Rs 40,000 in the vicinity.
- Groundwater levels dip in Visakhapatnam
Venkatesh Bayya | TNN | Apr 20, 2019, 14:34 IST
Visakhapatnam: The groundwater department in Visakhapatnam has confirmed that their has been an overall drop in groundwater levels with six mandals experiencing drounght-like situations.
From 2017 onwards, the groundwater levels have dipped from 8.79 meters below ground level in May 2017 May to 9.89 meters by April 2019, with groundwater going down on an average by 1.10 meters across the district.
Deputy director, groundwater department, KVS Sastry said, The groundwater levels have been checked at 72 points, where there are piezometers, attached to the digital water record, across 43 mandals of the district. The reason for this drop in groundwater levels is a consistent deficit in rainfall over the last few years. The average annual rainfall in the district from June to May onwards has been 1200 mm, in 2018-2019, we have so far received only 866 mm, with a deficit of more than 25%. In 2017-2018 the deficit was barely 12% with the district reciving 1080 mm from June 2017 to May 2018 against the average of 1200 mm.
Sastry said that six mandals Atchyutapuram, Padmanbham, Parawada, Munchingput, Visakhapatnam Urban and Anandapuram have been the worst affected.
According to the department, over the last one year, Atchyutapuram has witnessed a steep fall in groundwater from 21 metres below ground level to 28 metres below ground level. Parawada too has witnessed a steep fall from 23 metres to 27 metres. However, the fall in groundwater level has been marginal in the other four mandals.
When asked about the measures being taken to arrest the depleting groundwater levels, Sastry said, We hope we have good summer showers followed by a healthy monsoon to improve the situation. However, in urban areas, water harvesting pits in all apartment complexes must be made compulsory, that is the only way out of the situation.
- Now, GVMC plans to interconnect city’s water resources to overcome scarcity Umamaheswara Rao | tnn | Apr 21, 2019, 09:29 IST
Visakhapatnam: The GVMC is planning to interconnect various water sources in the city to make better use of surplus water in Godavari and Yeleru reservoir.
The GVMC will make the 85 MLD water plant in Aganampudi fully operational. It will lay an interconnection lane from Aganampudi to Raiwada and Thatipudi reservoirs through the existing network at NAD Junction that brings water from these two reservoirs to the town service reservoir.
This will help the GVMC maintain the water at optimum levels in the two reservoirs.
On the other hand, the Padmanabhapuram balancing reservoir in Vepagunta will be linked to Mudasarlova reservoir via Simhachalam. The Mudasarlova reservoir, which is located near the Health City in Arilova, dries up during summer. If it were to be connected to the Padmanabhapuram reservoir (water source —Yeleru), water levels in Mudasarlova can be maintained at a safe operating level throughout the year.
Similar is the case of the proposed interconnection of Sundarayya Colony treatment plant (water source is Yeleru) to the Mindi treatment plant (water source is Meghadrigedda reservoir). GVMC commissioner M Hari Narayanan said these projects have been proposed assuming that Godavari and Yeleru will continue to have excessive water. “The GVMC had taken up repairs of old Raiwada pumping main with about Rs 1 crore last September. We can now draw 16 MGD more water from Yeleru left main canal. Out of the 16 MGD, 8 MGD is released to Raiwada water treatment plant. The balance 8 MGD is released into Meghadrigedda reservoir, which has increased the sustainability of the reservoir. Earlier, we used to draw only 70 MGD water from Yeleru canal. But now we are getting nearly 120 MGD, which represents a 70% increase,” said Hari Narayanan.
He said GVMC was exploring ways to use excess water from Godavari in a better way. “This is the first year the GVMC has excess water. We would plan on augmenting the capacity of existing tanks and other water bodies in the city,” said Hari Narayanan.
- GVMC to create ward-wise waste management profiles
TNN | Updated: Apr 25, 2019, 4:28 IST
Towards Swachhata: GVMC is aiming at 100 % waste segregation
Visakhapatnam: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has decided to create ward-wise profiles of solid waste management to achieve 100 per cent waste segregation.
GVMC is getting about 200 tonnes of segregated waste on a daily basis, which is being converted into compost.
Zone-I officials gave a power point presentation on the ward-wise profiles pertaining to their zone at the commissionerate on Wednesday.
GVMC commissioner M Hari Narayanan said that he would soon review the ward-wise profiles of all zones. The public should be alerted before the pushcarts, garbage collecting vehicles and sanitary staff reach a particular micro pocket of the ward. This would help improve the waste collection capacity of the civic body, said Hari Narayanan.
Earlier, the GVMC had launched the two-bin segregation in 2017, but 50 per cent of the residents of the city are yet to adapt to the two bin culture.
The GVMC also decided to complete the drainage desilting works before the onset of monsoon, which could otherwise prevent free flow of water. Additional commissioners GVVS Murthy, chief medical officer Dr A Hemanth, assistant medical officer Dr S Jayaram, zonal commissioner Durga Prasad and others were present.
- Groundwater levels further dip in urban and rural Vizag
Venkatesh Bayya | TNN | Updated: May 23, 2019, 4:26 IST
Visakhapatnam: Groundwater levels continue to plummet in urban and rural areas in Visakhapatnam district, while the water table in the Agency areas has remained more or less static, with hardly any fall post April 2019.
The average rate of dip in groundwater levels has been 1.1 metre in the last two years. Sources in the groundwater department disclosed that over the last two years, groundwater levels have dipped by 2.2 metre, on average across the district.
“There are 73 groundwater checkpoints in the district and the latest results show that in the Agency tracts, the dip in the last one month has been marginal, while in some areas, there has been a correction of sorts. However, across the district, groundwater levels continue to plummet,” said KVS Sastry, deputy director, groundwater department.
Sources in the department pointed out that in the Agency areas, and especially in parts of Araku Valley, there has been a correction mainly on account of summer showers. In Araku Valley proper, groundwater levels actually rose from a low of 2.534 metre to 3.448 metres. They added that in other places in the Agency, the dip had been marginal. However, GK Veedhi and Dumrigada mandals registered a dip of over 1 metre.
Regarding the plains and urban areas in the district, Sastry said that groundwater levels have plummeted further in most places by at least one metre, and added that K Kotapadu and Anandapuram have been the worst affected. “The fall in the groundwater table continues unabated as of today. Unless we have a healthy monsoon, things could worsen by November 2019.”
Sastry added that water harvesting must be carried out on a war footing in all major affected areas of the district, rural as well as urban.
- Will Vizag monorail deter the Metro?
V Kamalakara Rao | tnn | Updated: Jul 13, 2019, 5:29 IST
Visakhapatnam: The budget announcement of setting up a monorail in the city has raised questions about the future of the Vizag Metro Rail (VMR) project.
According to public transport experts, monorail projects are better suited to cities like Visakhapatnam because it has much lower traffic density when compared to cities like Hyderabad and Delhi. The estimated cost to build the monorail is around Rs 150 crore per km. Speaking to TOI, a senior railway official said, monorails have had success in Gurgaon and Mumbai. If the government is not in a position to make huge investments, monorail will be agood option.
However, a reliable source working in the metro rail project in Hyderabad said that according to the Metro Rail Policy, 2017, metro rail systems include monorail. Monorail has lower capacity and higher maintenance cost, according to the source. If there is no revenue from passenger traffic, it might become difficult to handle, the source added.
Managing director of Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation NP Ramakrishna Reddy, however, said, I am not able to comment on the monorail project as I am yet to receive any official instruction. Moreover, the project is completely different from the previously proposed metro rail project.
According to technical staffers of AMRC, need for land in monorail is less compared to the metro rail project.
As per reports from studies on conducted in 2015, NAD Junction, Maddilapalem and Hanumanthawaka Junction have more than 10,000 PPHPD (passengers per hour per direction). A city should necessarily have at least 15,000 PPHPD for a metro rail project. However, for a monorail project the PPHPD requirement in 5,000.
- Vizianagaram civic body extends building penalisation scheme till August 31
The civic body has collected a sum of Rs 2.47 crores as regularisation fine since the scheme started in January 2019.Venkatesh Bayya | TNN | August 13, 2019, 12:00 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: In a bid to promote construction regularisation, Vizianagaram Municipal Corporation authorities have extended the date for receiving applications under the building penalisation scheme till August 31.
The civic body has collected a sum of Rs 2.47 crores as regularisation fine since the scheme started in January 2019.
Sources in the VMC said that so far only 872 applications have been received while the actual number of unauthorised constructions (those without approval from the town planning wing) runs into the thousands.
According to Ch Madhusudan Rao, town planner, VMC, said that this is an opportunity for many people to get their constructions regularised.
“We are expecting more people to come forward and regularise their constructions. Of course only those applications where there is proper documentary evidence would be approved.” He added that the scheme is only for those who have erected constructions without approval between 1985- August 2018.
Sources in the corporation said that so far 201 applications have been disposed of under the regularisation scheme, while another 570 applicants have received messages concerning issues with their applications, and another 216 are yet to receive information.
The drive has been intensified keeping in view the fact that Vizianagarammunicipality was recently elevated to a corporation and unless the regularisation process is taken up, project-based funds due to the corporation would not be released.
Officials said that the number of new constructions being taken up in the district headquarters ran into the hundreds every year and added that many people are ignorant of the norms under the AP Development Permission Norms and Systems.
They further added that they have set up billboards at city junctions, informing people about the extended date raising aware of the norms.
- Visakhapatnam: Two years on, Chilakapeta residents still await houses
The residents of this housing complex had been provided temporary accommodation in Madeenabagh, near the Vizag Steel Plant, located far away from Chilakpeta. Umamaheswara Rao | TNN | August 24, 2019, 14:30 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: Two years have passed since the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) vacated a dilapidated housing complex in Chilakapeta in One Town area with the promise to provide its residents new housing facilities in the same location.
However, the promise has remained unfulfilled till date and the construction of the two-block housing complex was stopped a few weeks ago.
The residents of this housing complex had been provided temporary accommodation in Madeenabagh, near the Vizag Steel Plant, located far away from Chilakpeta.
This however created several problems for residents, as most people who lived in the housing complex work in the nearby Port and other industries located close to their home. As a result, they have had to seek out rental accommodation in and around Chilakpeta itself.
The evacuation of this housing complex in Chilakpeta was the first of such initiatives taken up by the GVMC in the recent past, wherein the civic body decided to construct a new housing facility for residents in the same place after razing the structure.
This building in Chilakpeta had been constructed some four decades ago and had broken down considerably. The walls of the building had suffered damages and the roofs had partially collapsed. Even then, some residents were initially apprehensive of vacating their housing.
GVMC authorities had then counselled them, cautioning them against the dangers of living in such a dilapidated structure. The Andhra Pradesh Township and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APTIDCO) had been tasked with the responsibility of the construction.
However, subsequently the project was tendered out to a private agency. According to sources, the ban on sand transportation and the consequent sand shortage has affected the construction of houses.
When TOI, visited the area on Friday, Illa Nookaraju, a resident who had been promised a new housing facility complained about the delay in works.
“They promised to complete the works in 18 months and hand over the complex to us this March. We are not in a position to afford rent any more,” he said.
Ch Krishnaveni, another resident said, “Even though we were provided temporary accommodation in a far-off place, several families had to stay back in the area as our children study in nearby schools and our workplaces are located close by. “
- Proposed Visakhapatnam metro to boost affordable housing in outskirts: Builders
Developers feel that the price of real estate would escalate once the deadline for the metro rail project comes closer. Arpit Basu | TNN | October 06, 2019, 10:11 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Andhra Pradesh government’s plan to extend the proposed metro rail project into the city’s outskirts has real estate developers excited. Many realtors are now planning to construct housing societies in these areas to cater to low and middle income groups.
Developers feel that the price of real estate would escalate once the deadline for the metro rail project comes closer.
Therefore, they now intend to woo the working classes who they assume will be using the metro on a regular basis but will not be able to afford high-value property.
Former president of the Visakhapatnam chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai), Koteswara Rao told TOI, “A large section of the middle and lower-middle class live in rental homes in Gajuwaka and southern outskirts of the city as well as in Kommadi and Madhurawada.”
“They might prefer to buy property and settle there permanently. Given the appreciation rate, we expect that they might be able to afford homes in areas where the metro network is slated to go. So we have decided upon such MIG (middle-income group) and LIG (low-income group) projects, “ he added.
Developers said that the price of these flats would be less than Rs 25 lakh.
Since these projects will come under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, buyers will get a discount on interest on home loans and other benefits, and hence be able to afford the flats.
At the present rate, the rate in the interiors of Gajuwaka and Kommadi is around Rs 3,000 per square feet. The rate of properties located on or around the highways hovers around Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 per square feet.
Developers state that the rate will increase by at least 35 to 40 per cent as soon as construction work begins.
M Srinivas, a real estate developer said, “We have already started marketing our upcoming projects in these localities stating that these projects are going to come up near areas from where it will be easy to use the metro services.”
However, there is still one thing that developers have to worry about.
“Vizagites living here for generations already have their own properties. There are a few to stay in rental homes and would prefer to buy one in years. But where are the new buyers? Unless the state and central governments encourage new industries in the Port City, new people won’t migrate to the city,” Koteswara Rao maintained.
- Visakhapatnam civic body receives nearly two lakh applications under housing scheme
Beneficiary lists are currently on display at zonal and ward offices of the GVMC.TNN | October 24, 2019, 14:30 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has received 2.93 lakh applications under the housing scheme of the state government. Around 1.87 lakh applicants out of 2.93 will be beneficiaries after the newly introduced multi-layered verification process is complete.
Beneficiary lists are currently on display at zonal and ward offices of the GVMC. The civic body will continue to receive fresh applications as well as objections and queries from the rejected 1.06 lakh applicants till the end of the month.
Speaking to TOI, GVMC commissioner G Srijana said that a rigorous verification process was followed to select beneficiaries.
“The multi-layered verification process used a set of predefined parameters to filter out ineligible beneficiaries. The system even identifies if the applicant owns a pucca house or possesses land in his/her name in other districts apart from other parameters. The urban community development (UCD) wing of the GVMC covered about five lakh households in the city to identify eligible beneficiaries for the housing scheme. But the rejected applicants can submit fresh applications to the GVMC officials during the ward-level and zonal-level meetings, which will be conducted till October 31, by correcting the discrepancies” said Srijana.
GVMC UCD project director Y Srinivasa Rao said even applicants who submitted a demand draft (DD) or were declared an eligible beneficiary in the earlier survey conducted two years ago have to submit a fresh application, along with a photocopy of the DD.
- Celebrity Towers' buyers protest against Shriram Properties for delay in possession
The protest was led by G Ramesh Babu, President and K Jagadish, General Secretary of Celebrity Towers All town association. TNN | November 10, 2019, 10:57 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: Members of the Celebrity Towers All town association staged a protest against Shriram properties at the GVMC Gandhi Statue junction here on Monday, demanding the management immediately hand over the flats the protesters had paid for.
The protest was led by G Ramesh Babu, President and K Jagadish, General Secretary of Celebrity Towers All town association.
They also staged a protest near Shriram properties Yendada office, where protesters cooked their food and ate it during the protest.
The association claims that Shriram properties has been promising them for almost four years that the flats allotted to to them would be handed over to them, but there has been no move done in that regard so far.
The protesters said that they were at the mercy of the Shriram Properties management which was responsible for the delay and urged the civic authorities to come to their rescue.
- Violations led to Lulu project cancellation: Andhra Pradesh tourism minister
The minister, who held a review meeting with GVMC officials on sanitation, seasonal diseases and town planning, alleged that the most expensive land pocket in the heart of the city was given to Lulu group at throwaway price.TNN | November 23, 2019, 16:00 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: Tourism minister M Srinivasa Rao on Friday claimed there were several violations in the land allocation as well as bidding process for the proposed mega convention centre in the city by Lulu group.
The minister, who held a review meeting with GVMC officials on sanitation, seasonal diseases and town planning, alleged that the most expensive land pocket in the heart of the city was given to Lulu group at throwaway price.
“Moreover, the convention centre on beach road, which already witnesses huge crowds during weekends, is not a suitable location for the project. The government cancelled the MoU taking all these factors into consideration, not because of differences with N Chandrababu Naidu,” he said.
Srinivasa Rao further said there is a clear drop in the number of vector-borne diseases within GVMC limits as compared to last year.
“While the city registered about 1,464 dengue cases last year, it is about 679 cases this year. The number of malaria cases this year is only 83 compared to 416 in 2018,” he observed.
The minister also set Dec 10 as deadline for GVMC officials to repair damaged roads in the city. He also asked them to make the bus rapid transit system project operational in the next one-two months. “Several educational institutions operate out of commercial complexes. The GVMC should launch a special drive to identify such institutions, which pose a threat to safety of students during fire mishaps and other disasters,” he said.
- Lokayukta issues notice to Visakhapatnam civic body over illegal buildings
According to the complaint, the town planning wing allegedly colluded with persons involved in illegal constructions in the city.Siva G | TNN | November 26, 2019, 18:00 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The lokayukta issued a notice to the commissioner of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) to submit a report on illegal constructions in the city.
According to the complaint, the town planning wing allegedly colluded with persons involved in illegal constructions in the city.
One A Narayana Rao lodged a complaint with the lokayukta on November 2, 2018, claiming that the GVMC town planning wing has supported illegal constructions and is involved in corruption. He urged the lokayukta to inquire, investigate and take action against officers concerned.
The complaint relates to the illegal construction of the fourth floor in a building in Ramalayam in ward number 3, zone I, Greater Vizag.
The complaint was registered through the Puraseva application as well as with the town planning wing. Narayana Rao, meanwhile, has said that no action was taken even after he lodged three complaints and construction work was underway.
In the meantime, the complainant said the foundation for the fourth floor had been laid and GVMC staff had leaked the complaint notice to the constructor. Narayana Rao also said corruption in construction was not confined to ward number 3 but is rampant under the GVMC’s jurisdiction.
He also attached reports of other illegal constructions in the city as published in various newspapers and urged the lokayukta to take action.
When contacted, GVMC commissioner G Srijana told TOI that she would ensure the affidavit is submitted to the lokayukta.