Telangana: Bastis change names to get state benefits

When Telugu Desam came to power, NTR Nagar was the most favourite name such localities were after.

Hyderabad: What’s in a name? Certainly a lot and it’s also a defence against out-of-the-blue acquisitions and demolitions.

Balakrishna Nagar, a colony of the poor in Ramanthapur municipal division, thought about the best guarantee for survival and changed its name overnight into KCR Nagar.

Located on the banks of River Musi, the government had decided to take over land of 93 acres in the area for public purposes including the Metro Rail project.

Locals who got a wind of the government plan to acquire the land, including 30 odd acres housing Balakrishna Nagar that’s named after actor and TD MLA, as also Sai Krishna Nagar and Annapurna Nagar, (all named after NTR family members) have lost no time in rechristening it as KCR Nagar. The locality has about 3,500 houses.

Amid the election heat, TRS GHMC candidate G. Jyotsna, Congress nominee Sarita and BJP's Deepika as also other independents in the fray promised to stand by the locals and protect their land and houses from acquisition.

“It used to be called Balakrishna Nagar for long but now it has been changed to KCR Nagar. I don’t know why. But whatever be the reason, our houses should be protected from land acquisition and the government should ensure safe drinking water, power supply, road and drainage system,” resident Prakash said.

GHMC candidates are accosted by the locals demanding basic civic amenities and scrapping of the government move to acquire the land.

Ashok, a local TRS leader, said panchayat raj and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao has promised to adopt Ramanthapur municipal division and they expect of the government to save their houses and provide basic amenities.

This, however, is not an isolated case. Leaders in slums cropping up illegally on government and other lands often name the space after leaders of the party in power.

When the Congress was in power, there was a spate of Jawaharlal Nehru Nagars, Indira Nagars, Rajiv Nagars, Rahul Nagars, Sonia Nagars, YSR Nagars etc.

When Telugu Desam came to power, NTR Nagar was the most favourite name such localities were after.

Addagutta, one of the biggest slums in Hyderabad and state, has small colonies named after prominent leaders in power, which is not only a defence against demolition but also to ensure basic amenities like power, drinking water etc.

Rasoolpura slum, in the heart of the city which forms part of Cantonment area and set up on government Indian Airlines land, grew up from a few houses named after leaders in power into thousands of dwelling units over the years.

Two decades ago, a local leader, as a defence against demolition, constructed a temple, a mosque and a church with equal religious fervour.

There are several bastis named as Anna Nagar, Indira Nagar, Anjaiah Nagar etc... all names of leaders in power.

It has now turned into a massive colony where hundreds of pucca houses have come up in place of huts and enjoys all the basic amenities thanks to patronage by political parties. Over 5,000 families reside here.

Though the government tried in vain to evict them and shift them to Kukatpally area, the residents stood their ground.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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