Hyderabad: Villages surrounding Corporations and Municipalities are strongly opposing their merger with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). The state government has asked the Collectors to submit by February 10, the list of villages that could be merged with the ULBs.
Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrasekhar Rao had earlier announced the government’s plans to expand existing ULBs and also create new ULBs by merging surrounding villages. This is to enable fast development in villages surrounding the ULBs and to increase urbanisation in the state.
However, the village panchayats are passing resolutions, opposing the merger with a concern that they would lose employment as the NREGA will be scrapped if villages are merged into ULBs.
They also fear a higher tax burden on account of property tax, water charges etc., if villages are merged with ULBs.
While some village panchayats are sending copies of resolutions to the government against the merger, some other panchayats have been threatening to approach the High Court against the forcible merger, without considering the views of the grama panchayats.
The Department of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development is facing a piquant situation on convincing the grama panchayats to agree for the merger with ULBs. The TRS Government is planning to conduct panchayat elections in March.
Before that, it wants to merge the surrounding villages with ULBs so that those villages could be excluded from the elections. The tenure of existing panchayats will expire on August 2. As per existing norms, the government cannot enforce merger without consulting the panchayats. At present, there are 73 ULBs in the state. The government wants to create another 40 ULBs by merging surrounding villages.
In Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation GHMC alone, officials have proposed to merge 90 surrounding villages. There is also a proposal to merge 110 more villages across the state.
At present, there are over 8,600 grama panchayats in TS. The government wants to create another 4,000 panchayats, by merging the villages.
“The scheme is applicable only for villages. But one should realise that the merger of villages with ULBs would enable faster growth in all fronts and will lead to more job creation. We are confident of convincing village panchayats for the merger by addressing their concerns,” Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Minister Jupally Krishna Rao said.