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- ‘Denotification of land will strip city of green cover further’
VISAKHAPATNAM: The government should stop de-notification of 3,000 acres of forest land on the hills of the Port City as it will spell doom for whatever green cover is left after cyclone Hudhud wreaked havoc in the city last year, said former deputy mayor K Dorababu.
Speaking to media persons here on Wednesday, he suggested that instead of de-notifying the hills for the benefit a few individuals and institutions, the government should initiate plantation in the areas to restore the lost greenery.
"Environmentalists had already expressed concern over the reduction of green cover in the Port City from 43% to 23% after cyclone Hudhud last year. The absence of trees has also led to an increase in temperatures and pollution levels," the former deputy mayor said.
He alleged that the government was de-notifying forest land to convert the city into a concrete jungle. "The people's representatives should keep their selfish interests aside and work for the people. They should not force public servants to fulfill their motives but encourage them to focus on issues like enhancing green cover and providing proper drinking water," Dorababu said.
The Visakhapatnam Urban Development (Vuda) had already called for tenders to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) to develop the hills of Errakonda, Seetakonda, Nadupur and Narava for tourism, residential and commercial purposes.
Dorababu alleged that the decision by ministers and officials would destroy the city's ecology. "Any change in the master plan and land use should be done only after considering public opinion. Calling for tenders and de-notification of reserve forests is a clear violation of laws," he alleged.
Dorababu lashed out at Vuda for trying to violate the laws regarding CRZ regulations and said that the development authority was reprimanded by the courts of law in the past for violating the laws.
He pointed out that the state government had proposed plantation over 5,640 hectares of alternate lands for the de-notified forest land in 2012 but nothing has been done so far. The CAG report also states that out of 11,033 hectares that was supposed to be afforested across the country, Andhra Pradesh alone accounts for 51%. Moreover, the state tops the list of non-utilisation of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAFMPA) funds. At present, the government has allocated 6,000 acres for afforestation for de-notification of 3,000 acres in Vizag, Dorababu said.
"If the new Land Acquisition Act comes into force, acquisition of 6,000 acres would become a herculean task for the government," he said.
‘Denotification of land will strip city of green cover further’ - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Police arrest five land grabbers in Visakhapatnam
VISAKHAPATNAM: The PM Palem and Bheemili police arrested five land grabbers, including a woman, in two separate cases in the city on Tuesday.
In the first case, the PM Palem cops arrested three for allegedly using forged general power of attorney (GPA) documents and occupying a 90 sq yd house site of a physically challenged person who has been missing since 1995. The accused were identified as Tanneru Uma Maheswara Rao (57) of Vikalangula Colony of Madhurawada, his wife T Venkata Ramana (53) and Kondeti Rama Krishna (25) of Seetammadhara.
According to deputy commissioner of police (law and order zone-I) CM Trivikram Varma, the government had allotted plot number 92 to Koppala Srinivasa Rao in survey number 336 at Vikalangula Colony in 1991. The handicapped person constructed a hut on the site, but went missing in 1995. His mother K Sarada recently discovered that K Ramakrishna was constructing a house on that site. On enquiring, Ramakrishna said he had purchased the site from Uma Maheswara Rao and his wife on March 31, 2012. Cops found that Uma Maheswara Rao had grabbed the land by creating false GPA documents.
In the second case, Bheemili cops arrested two persons for grabbing 5.18 acres in Sommanapalem village of Kapuluppada panchayat on Tuesday. The accused were identified as Marupalli Rama Rao (33) and Marupalli Rajendra Prasad of K Nagarapalem village.
Police arrest five land grabbers in Visakhapatnam - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation to select consultancy firm for ‘smart city’ bid
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) will zero in on a suitable consultancy firm by September 10 for preparing the 'smart city' proposal to compete with 97 other cities and get shortlisted for the first phase of the project in which only 20 cities will be selected.
The selected consultancy is likely to begin work on the proposal from September 15 and complete the task within 100 days from the date of work order. A specially appointed committee comprising officials from the department of municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) and AP Urban Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APUFIDC) will select the firm from 11 consultants shortlisted on the basis of their Request for Proposal (RFPs), on September 10. The estimated cost of the assignment is Rs 40 lakh.
The 11 shortlisted consultants include Darashaw and Co Pvt Ltd, Lea Associates South Asia Pvt Ltd, IIDC Limited in association with Urban Mass Transit Company Ltd, Egis India Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd in association with IAU idF France and Egis EAU, CRISIL Risk and Infrastructure Solutions Ltd, Mott MacDonald Private Ltd, Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd, AECOM India Pvt Ltd, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd, Infosys Limited and CRP Risk Management Ltd.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar, who is one of the members of the selection committee, said the 'smart city' proposal will be submitted to the Union urban development ministry through the state government.
The Union government will allocate Rs 2 crore to each of the 98 selected cities for preparing the 'smart city' proposal, Pravin Kumar said.
Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation to select consultancy firm for ‘smart city’ bid - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- VPT mulls developing land in city into commercial assets
VISAKHAPATNAM: With land within the GVMC limits becoming a prized asset, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is now looking to rake in additional revenue by making the most of its unused lands by developing them as commercial centres and may also consider developing space for IT towers subject to feasibility in Harbour Park or Salagramapuram in the city.
According to senior VPT officials, the major port has nearly 12 acres lying unused at Harbour Park and around 40 acres at Salagramapuram near Narasimhanagar in the city. With both these parcels of land located in prime areas of the city, the VPT has now decided to rope in consultants to prepare a plan in order to optimally utilise the vacant land in its fold.
The consultant is expected to prepare a feasibility report to identify the market potential and strategy to be followed by VPT along with a business plan, technical and commercial viability. The consultant is also expected to identify the most suitable business plan for the project with an objective to maximize the return on investment to the project and identify the various infrastructure components for the project along with proposed development time schedules (project phasing) for the infrastructure components based on the demand projections. The consulant will also provide cost estimates for infrastructure development and indicative layout drawings for the proposed project.
"VPT wants to see what kind of demand is there for the land that it holds in the city. We want to see if it can be developed either for IT towers or any other commercial centre, which makes business sense to the port. The plan is to go for the PPP mode of development depending on the returns that VPT will get," said a VPT official. "The consultant will study the revenue model and areas or sectors which can provide good returns for the port," he added.
"The advantage of these land parcels is that they are located right in the heart of the city and if the IT sector starts to grow in Vizag, then developing these can be a profitable proposition for the port. Instead of leaving the land idle, we are hoping that it can bring in additional revenue for the port. At least we will be able to get a few crores of rupees per year by putting the land to productive use," said another official.
VPT mulls developing land in city into commercial assets - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- DMRC to build Vizag metro rail project
Vijayawada: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will execute the Visakhapatnam metro rail project at an estimated cost of Rs 13,488 crore. It is expected to be completed in a period of four years.
The Centre's decision to entrust the project to DMRC was announced by union minister for urban development M Venkaiah Naidu in the midst of submission of a detailed project (DPR) to chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu at a press conference here on Saturday. The CM said that the DPR would be placed before the cabinet shortly for approval.
The DPR has proposed to fix fare at Rs 10 for a distance from 0 km to 5 km, Rs 20 from 5-10 km and Rs 30 beyond 10 km. As per the DPR, it is executed in four corridors — NDA Junction to Kommadi Junction (Madhurawada) for a distance of 22.8 km, Gurudwara to Old Post Office (5.26 km), Thatichetlapalem to China Waltair (East Point Colony) (6.91 km) and NDA Junction to Gajuwaka (8.1 km), a total distance of 42.55 km.
Initially, it was proposed to build the rail project in three corridors. The corridor between NAD Junction to Gajuwaka Junction was recently added following a request from the locals. Venkaiah Naidu said private players did not show interest to take up the project under build-operate-transfer (BOT) system in view of low FIRR (financial internal rate of returns) in the order of 2.08 and 2.059 per cent, forcing the government to ask the DMRC to take it up.
The public-private partnerships (PPP) or BOT modes would succeed only when the returns would be not less than 16 per cent, he explained. Therefore, it will be implemented as a government initiative jointly by the state government and the Centre on the lines of Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi metros.
Venkaiah Naidu expressed hope that Vizag could meet the norms given its population growth of 2.5 lakh every year. The total population of Vizag is registered at 17.30 lakh as per the latest census.
The Union minister said that the Centre has approached Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for financial assistance for the project. The proposed funding pattern under SPV model is as follows according to the DPR: equity by central government 1,504 crore (14.17 per cent), state government 1,504 crore (14.17 per cent), JICA loan (1.4 per cent) and another 8.5 per cent of funds to be raised in the form of market borrowings (tax free bonds on roll over basis).
DMRC to build Vizag metro rail project - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- 'Vizag has immense potential, will continue to witness steady growth'
Hailing from an agrarian family of West Godavari district, he is a first generation builder from his family. Having studied at the AU Centre in Kakinada, he moved to the Port City nearly two decades ago and has, as the managing partner of MK Builders and Developers, been involved in construction of various housing projects in the city over the past 17 years. In an interview with Manish of TOI, K Rama Krishna Rao, chairman of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai)'s Visakhapatnam zone, takes a reality check on Vizag's realty scenario.
After bifurcation, has there been any growth in Vizag?
We are in a much better position now. Even though Vizag is not the capital, it is the biggest city in AP and has its own importance. New employment and migration to the city has yet to take place on a large scale, but in the coming years it will increase as the manufacturing and IT sector begin to grow in the city. The metro rail project is also going to give a boost to the city's infrastructure.
Which areas are the potential realty hotspots in the city?
Madhurawada, Vepagunta and Kurmannapalem are the areas of the future. Madhurawada is located between the Bhogapuram airport and Vizag city and due to plans of developing the metrol rail is going to be the hottest destination in Vizag. Vepagunta also holds tremendous promise due to the BRTS project and is finding its place among middle-income group employees. Kurmannapalem is growing due to demand from central government organisations such as Vizag Steel Plant, HPCL and pharma companies at Parawada.
For long, IT was touted to be the growth driver for Vizag but has failed to take off. Do you see this changing now?
Until AP was bifurcated, all the focus was on Hyderabad. But now times are changing and there is no doubt that IT still has the strength to drive markets in Vizag. Ours is already the biggest and most ideal city for IT and the government has also said that it will promote IT in Vizag, so it will develop much faster. Also, with two ports increasing their capacities, port-led development will be another driver for the city.
Apart from the metro rail that is being planned, what else do we need as part of infrastructure development?
When you consider infrastructure related to the housing sector, the most important aspect is connectivity. If connectivity is provided, then people will come to new areas. It's a good move by the central and state governments to plan for a new airport at Bhogapuram as it will bridge the gap between Vizag and Vizianagaram. The road connectivity will improve further and the proposed metro connection along with air connectivity will offer a big boost to infrastructure.
Will Vizag continue to witness an increase in prices of plots and flats?
The AP market as a whole and Vizag are completely different in the sense that Vizag always has witnessed a steady growth, unlike other cities in the state. Even after bifurcation, there was no increase in prices due to speculation unlike in Vijayawada, where too much hype was created, causing difficulty for builders as well as people. The prices in Vizag market will witness a steady growth.
Is housing getting out of the reach of the common man due to increasing land prices?
Land availability is an issue. If land is available, then housing can be provided to everybody. Nowadays, a salaried employee can't buy flats in the city due to which they are moving to suburbs like Madhurawada. Even in Madhurawada, we are not able to get flats for less than Rs 20 lakh. If that has to happen, then government has to provide land at affordable rates, which is not being done. Nearly 500 builders are successfully undertaking projects in joint venture mode with private land owners. But, the same thing is not happening with government. If the government gives land, then it can resolve the issue of housing without spending anything. The same thing is being done in Malaysia, where the government gives specification to builders and construction is taken up. Why can't it be replicated here?
What is the burning issue being faced by builders in the city?
Raw materials and availability of skilled labour. The main problem we are facing is with sand, which is very difficult to procure. The DRDA office last month had stopped issuing sand for about 20 days and even now we are facing some problems with sand. Why is it happening? We are not against government giving sand reaches to Dwcra groups, but transportation shouldn't be linked to it as it is a 24-hour activity. Government has to make it easy for even common people to purchase sand. Skilled labour is another nation-wide problem. Government has identified that skill development is needed and realized that training has to be given to upgrade skills. Builders will pay a worker only when he turns up for work at the site otherwise we won't be in a position to do so. So if a worker goes for training, why will we pay? Government has to fill this gap so that worker gets some remuneration as an incentive for the training he undergoes.
Many of the apartments in Madhurawada are still vacant. Is it a case of excess supply?
In Madhurawada, the minimum infrastructure needed for people to live has not been created. Builders have constructed apartments, but there is no road and in some cases even streetlights are not there, which have to be provided by civic bodies. People are afraid to go there, because minimum social infrastructure such as departmental stores or city bus services or hospitals are not there.
Several big realty players are making investments in Vizag. Is it an advantage to the city?
Once big players come, it gives a nationwide focus to the city. Until now only local players were there, but the arrival big players goes to prove that Vizag has immense potential for growth.
'Vizag has immense potential, will continue to witness steady growth' - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Builders threaten to bring construction to halt in city
VISAKHAPATNAM: Demanding that the AP government immediately look into the shortage of sand in the district, representatives of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai)'s Vizag zone threatened the government that builders will stop all civil works in the city from September 21 unless it does something to resolve the issue. The association urged chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to intervene in the matter.
Addressing a media conference in the city on Tuesday, Credai Vizag zone chairman K Ramakrishna Rao said that builders are deeply worried about the shortage of sand, which is hurting construction activities in the city. He said there is no supply of sand by DRDA, which is the sole sand distributing agency of the state government.
He said that the non-availability of sand is only being witnessed in the Port City and its surrounding areas. The DRDA authorities of the districts adjoining Visakhapatnam, where plenty of sand is available, are not encouraging supply to Vizag, he added.
Against the earlier availability of one truckload of quality sand (six units) at around Rs 18,000, the price now is at Rs 50,000 due to cess and transportation charges. The high sand prices and now its non-availability has affected construction activities and also impacted housing projects (pushing up costs) and infrastructure projects in Vizag city, he added.
Credai members said that there has been a shortage of nearly 70% as against the demand of 1,000 truckloads a day in Vizag.
Credai Vizag secretary B Srinivasa Rao said that though Visakhapatnam district officials are expressing their helplessness sand is illegally available in the market at a higher rate.
Credai Vizag zone members pointed out that stoppage of civil works will cause loss of employment to lakhs of contract labourers and skilled workers, who are dependent on construction activity and will also bring to a standstill all kinds of supplies and commercial activities.
Builders threaten to bring construction to halt in city - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- PWD Building: Withstanding the test of time
VISAKHAPATNAM: A magnificent cut stone structure built just after World War I, the district engineering office, which is now known as the public works department, is a typical example of colonial architecture.
Built on an elevated sand hill next to the zilla parishad, the PWD building is a two-winged structure with a central staircase. The design has all the elements of necessity and simplicity and yet has the ability to inspire awe.
The staircase is exquisitely carved out of Burma teak as is the case with most public and private colonial period buildings in Visakhapatnam and leads to the first floor, which had originally boasted of a high-beamed tiled roof but has now been replaced with an RCC roof.
The doorways are gently arched (brick inlaid arches) with every room leading to the enclosed verandahs and boasting of rectangular ventilators and typical wood and steel reinforced windows. The pillars are rectangular columns with each being 3-ft wide and the building is surrounded by an encompassing pillared verandah that boasts of around 60 such mighty pillars.
"The structure is said to have a 6-ft deep foundation and is perfectly balanced on all sides. More importantly, it is not just purely functional but also provides those who work inside with a cool, well-ventilated and breezy office space," said history buff B S Mahesh.
Speaking about the size of the building, architect PRK Sarma said, "It is a 14-room building with an area of around 6,500 sq ft. But if one were to calculate the size of the entire building, the elevated roof must also be taken into consideration."
Regarding the ground floor, the architect said, "The ground floor roof is Madras terrace, with Burma teak beams interlaced with steel beams imported from England supporting the roof."
An old resident of Maharanipeta, PVN Murthy said, "I'm 80 years old and the building's looks have not changed a bit. My parents, who moved from the Old Town to Maharanipeta in the late 1950's, had told me that the building was built in the early 1920s."
PWD Building: Withstanding the test of time - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Housing project at Suryateja Nagar slum to begin soon
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) will start the housing project under the centrally-funded Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) at Suryateja Nagar slum for its dwellers soon.
GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar visited the area on Friday and instructed the officials concerned to initiate construction of a temporary transit housing complex in the same area for the slum-dwellers as an alternative accommodation.
GVMC superintending engineer (projects) S Mariyanna said, "As many as 204 houses will be built under the project at an estimated cost of Rs 6.33 crore. Each beneficiary will have to contribute Rs 90,000 for which the GVMC will help them by sanctioning bank loans. The remaining balance will be borne by the Centre. The corporation will also provide basic amenities at the project site."
Speaking about the temporary accommodation, he said, "GVMC will spend nearly Rs 1 crore to set up the complex near the slum. The temporary accommodation is likely to be completed in the next two months. Once the temporary shelter is ready, the housing department will start constructing the houses. The project will be completed in one year."
Housing project at Suryateja Nagar slum to begin soon - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Affordable realty lures buyers to Vizag-Vizianagaram belt
VISAKHAPATNAM: Realtors in the districts of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram are rubbing their hands in glee as the demand for plots in the Vizag-Vizianagaram belt is witnessing a steady growth, which they claim is on account of the sharp increase in realty prices in the capital region of AP.
Soaring prices in the Vijayawada-Guntur region and steady growth in the prices of plots located on the outskirts of Vizag, are prompting buyers to look at realty in the Vizag-Vizianagarm belt as it is more affordable. Also it is not just buyers from the capital area but also those from Hyderabad that are lapping realty up in the belt, claim realtors.
According to realtors, while Anandapuram, Tagarapuvalasa and Bheemili have witnessed a nearly 30-40% hike in prices during the last six months on account of various announcements made by the AP government such as the greenfield international airport at Bhogapuram, convention centre at Madhurawada and IT Layout at Kapuluppada, many of the plot purchasers are now looking at the road leading to Vizianagaram for affordable investments in the range of Rs 5,000-6,000 per square yard. Also, realtors point out that Kothavalasa and S Kota are being sought after by customers as land there falls under the price range of around Rs 4,000-5,000 per square yard.
"No plots are available in Anandapuram, Tagarapuvalasa and Bheemili area for anything less than Rs 10,000-12,000 per square yard these days. So if a person wants to buy a 100-square yard plot in this area, he has to shell out at least Rs 10 lakh, which is not exactly affordable for everybody," said B Narayana Rao of Visakha Real Estates.
"Instead people are looking at the road towards Vizianagaram after the Y Junction, where the prices are hovering around Rs 5,000-6,000 per square yard. Interested property buyers are now coming from Odisha and Chhattisgarh, apart from various parts of AP itself," he added.
Concurring, T Ravi Shankar of Shriram Properties said, "There is a danger of land acquisition by the government in the capital area, which is causing a confusion among investors there, but that is not the case in Vizag. There has been no sudden jump or dip and prices, even though overall prices have gone up. A lot of projects are also being announced for Vizag and majority of these will happen between Vizag city and Bhogapuram area. With the development of the airport, other necessary infrastructure is also expected come up in these areas, which is driving the purchase in the areas north of Madhurawada."
Meanwhile, a real estate marketing agent, K Prabhakar, said, "Buyers, who are looking at the Vizianagaram area, are not only employees from Vizag city, but also from Hyderabad, who want to buy property here as an investment option."
Affordable realty lures buyers to Vizag-Vizianagaram belt - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Builders, land owners enter into joint development contracts
VISAKHAPATNAM: With the demand for flats growing in the Port City, a large number of builders are entering into a joint development agreement with land owners for construction of apartment complexes.
According to realty sources, nearly 90 per cent of standalone apartments being constructed in Visakhapatnam city are taken up under the joint development model. The share of the land owner and the builder varies from 40:60 to 60:40 depending on the location of the project as well as the size of the venture.
At least 390 square yards is required as per municipal rules to construct a four storey residential apartment complex with stilt for parking. In case of five storey buildings, the plot size should be around 600 square yards.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) Vizag zone chairman K Ramakrishna Rao told TOI that about 90 per cent of apartment complexes in Visakhapatnam were being constructed through the joint development agreement model. "Land owners and builders enter into an agreement under this model. Once the building is constructed, they will share the flats between themselves. This is beneficial to both parties."
Realty advisor M Nagendra said, "The land owner needs to enquire about the builder and ensure that he selects the builder with the best profile. Usually, flats are shared between the builder and the landowner depending on the value of the land."
Another builder V Ramana said the share of the land owner is higher in core areas of the city where land prices are high. The builder gets more number of flats if the land is located in the city outskirts. "Some builders are willing to construct apartment complexes in Kirlampudi layout and Pandurangapuram for only 25 to 30 per cent share," he said adding that the situation is however different in areas like Anandapuram.
Builders, land owners enter into joint development contracts - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Realtors, auto dealers bullish on festive sales
VISAKHAPATNAM: The realty and automotive sectors are bullish on sales during the upcoming Dasara and Diwali festivals thanks to rate cut announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
According to realtors and automotive sector representatives, sales in both the sectors could increase by at least 10-15% during the two festivals as compared to the previous year.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (Credai) Vizag zone chairman K Ramakrishna Rao, said, "The announcement on reduction of lending rates couldn't have come at a better time for the construction sector. Lot of people usually wait to purchase property during the Dasara and Diwali period due to auspicious dates and it will certainly drive sales forward in the next couple of months."
"After a long time, we have seen such a big rate cut and expect at least 10% increase in sales as a fallout in the next couple of months."
Meanwhile, realtor Narayana Rao said, "Majority of the salaried employees depend on loans for purchasing property. It will be a big boon for them as they can now expect loans at better rates. Many of those who were postponing their investments can now think of purchasing property as the land values are also appreciating."
"Last year cyclone Hudhud marred a lot of plans and before that there was a lot of uncertainty in the region due to bifurcation, because of which investments had remained stagnant. But, now we expect better sales as compared to the last three years in the next two months," he added.
Toyota Leela Krishna general manager (operations) Ajay Kumar said, "A lot will depend on how much of the benefit banks pass on to their customers. Home loan and auto loan are the two main things customers look for in the city because a huge chunk of the population is salaried class. The drop in lending rates will definitely improve sales."
The sales manager of another auto dealer pointed out that while Telugus prefer to purchase vehicles during Dasara, north Indians prefer to do so during Diwali. "These last three months of the year are crucial for us to rev up our sales," he added.
Realtors, auto dealers bullish on festive sales - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Land survey sparks tension in Bhogapuram
VISAKHAPATNAM: Tension prevailed at Tudem and its neighbouring villages, where villagers are slated to be displaced by the proposed greenfield international airport in Bhogapuram mandal of Vizianagaram, on Friday when representatives of RITES, the state government's consultant for the airport project, placed survey stones to mark government land amid heavy police bandobast.
However, suspecting strong opposition from the public, hundreds of police personnel were deployed at Tudem and its neighboring villages ahead of the survey. The cops even conducted vehicle checks and arrested a dozen villagers from Ravada village when they tried to obstruct RITES representatives while they were returning from Tudem village after placing survey stones. On learning about the arrest, around 300 villagers reached the Bhogapuram police station and demanded release of the arrested farmers.
Hundreds of cops led by three deputy superintendents of police and seven circle inspectors had landed in Tudem ahead of the visit by RITES representatives, indicating the state government's firm decision to go ahead with the land acquisition, a farmer from Ravada village alleged.
Incidentally, YSRCP state general secretary and Bobbili MLA Sujay Krishna Ranga Rao along with Vizianagaram district YSRCP president Kolagatla Veerabhadra Swamy and central executive council member and former MLA Penumatsa Samba Siva Raju had visited the affected villages on Thursday to take stock of the situation.
Ranga Rao said that party supremo YS Jaganmohan Reddy would visit the displaced villages on October 5 and extend his support to the displaced people.
The MLA said his party would fight till the state government rolled back its decision to go ahead with the airport construction.
Following the opposition of farmers and villagers to acquisition of their land, the state government decided to acquire around 5,200 acre in Bhogapuram mandal for construction of the international airport and started the acquisition of government land, as part of which it kicked off the process of identifying government land by placing survey stones.
Land survey sparks tension in Bhogapuram - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- Octogenarian held for land fraud in Visakhapatnam
VISAKHAPATNAM: The PM Palem police on Monday arrested an 80-year-old retired central government employee, Dabbiru Gowri Shankara Rao, for alleged land fraud.
Sources said the Central Excise and Other Central Government Employees' Cooperative House Building Society was established in 1974 and acquired four layouts for 828 members. The accused was the society's secretary for 20 years. He allegedly misused his official position and transferred six plots in the names of his family members. He later encroached upon a storm water channel, created two other plots and sold them.
After his retirement, other office-bearers of the society unearthed the fraud and started an inquiry against him. Based on the inquiry report, a complaint was lodged with the PM Palem police by divisional cooperative officer, Pilli Durga Prasad.
During the investigation, the police found that Gowri Shankara Rao had committed fraud, misused society funds and sold eight plots in violation of the society bye-laws.
Octogenarian held for land fraud in Visakhapatnam - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag
- KRM colony drowning in civic apathy
VISAKHAPATNAM: Floodgates are a usual sight at barrages such as the Dowleswaram barrage over river Godavari in Rajahmundry of East Godavari or the Gotta barrage over river Vamsadhara in Srikakulam district. But the presence of floodgates in the Korada Ram Murthy Naidu Colony, popularly known as KRM Colony, under ward number 10 of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) are sure to raise eyebrows.
KRM Colony is situated in a low-lying area and most of the residents erect flood gates in front of their houses to prevent rainwater from flowing into their homes when the streets get flooded during the rainy season.
Elaborating on the civic problem, Sri Siva Sai Nagar Residents' Welfare Association (SSNRWA) general secretary GSN Raju said even a light drizzle is enough to turn the streets into little rivers. "The main reason for this problem is the lack of sidewalls on the storm water drain that passes through the colony. There is a solution to every problem, but unfortunately our civic authorities are not bothered about providing a solution. Sometimes, even parked vehicles flow away along with the rainwater," he said.
Explaining about the floodgates in front of his house, AL Rao, a retired assistant commercial officer, said that nearly 3-4 feet of water flows on the street in front of his house when it rains. "I designed the floodgate specially with a broad iron sheet in addition to the regular gate. Whenever it rains, I close the entrance with the floodgate to prevent entry of rainwater. All the residents have to maintain two gates in front of their residence, including a flood gate. I am fed up of this situation and am planning to sell my house, but nobody is interested in buying it after they learn about the flooding problem."
SSNRWA president VSN Choudary said, "It is difficult to move on the road during the rainy season. We have appealed to the authorities concerned, including GVMC, to provide an alternative road, but there has been no response from them. The drainage water overflows onto the street and causes a flood-like situation during monsoons. The flooding can be controlled to some extent if sidewalls are erected."
Hindustan Shipyard employee TVS Naidu said that apart from flooding, the colony also suffers from various other civic issues, including dog menace, defunct streetlighting, absence of a proper public park and poor maintenance of drains and roads by GVMC.
The colony was established around two decades ago and houses nearly 5,000 people, most of whom belong to the middleclass. The colony is located near National Highway-16 and Simhachalam hills.
SSNRWA member P Sambasiva Rao pointed out that most houses do not have a proper door numbering system. "I request the authorities concerned to conduct a survey of houses and update the door numbers in order to prevent illegal encroachments and movement of anti-socials."
When contacted, GVMC commissioner Pravin Kumar said he would look into the civic issues of KRM Colony. "I know that flooding is a major problem in the area and will look into it if the colony residents submit a detailed report on their civic problems."
KRM colony drowning in civic apathy - The Times of IndiaCommentQuote0Flag