Hyderabad: Nizampet, like many localities in the newer parts of the city, has seen explosive growth over the past two decades. From being an outlier gram panchayat at the start of the millennium it grew to be a municipality and is now a municipal corporation heading for its first civic body elections. However, governance has not caught up with this development. The residents’ problems continue to be the same: drinking water shortage, bad roads, mosquitoes, lake encroachment, to name a few.
There is very little on the streets of Nizampet to indicate that it is indeed a municipal corporation. The metal archway on its main road still welcomes people into “Nizampet municipality”. The signposts by the roads have been pasted with stickers saying “Municipal Corporation” to correct this error. It does not even have a website. The Nizampet Municipal Corporation (NMC) building, formerly used as the panchayat office, is a small two-storey structure.
For years, the residents of Nizampet have complained of water shortage. They said water supply during the summer is erratic and hiring water tankers is inevitable. The Hyderabad Metro Water Board has recently taken control of water supply. Mr Ramaiah, a resident of Pragathinagar, said, “Water supply has improved.”
The biggest pain point remains the roads. It is not just the quality of the roads, but the regular congestion that bothers the residents. Mr Sanjeeva Rao, an independent candidate from Ward 5, said, the main road to Pragathinagar, which cuts through the Pragathinagar lake, is jam-packed every evening with vehicles. “Distances that should take less than five minutes to cover sometimes take an hour,” he said.
Mr Shankar Reddy, another resident, said pollution in the Praga-thinagar lake was a big problem. “This area is swarming with mosquitoes and insects every evening because of this lake. Many politicians have promised to get it cleaned but nothing has happened,” he said. Mr Reddy said some local politicians had collected chanda (donations) from them towards cleaning of the lake. “We don’t know where this money went,” he added.
Residents said they were willing to give TRS voters a chance. The corporation jurisdiction is overlapped by Qutub-ullahpur Assembly segment, which is represented by the TRS’ K.P. Vivekananda Goud. TRS flags and banners were most visible on the roads. TD activists campaigning on Monday claimed the party had a loyal base, as Mr Goud was with the party until 2016.
Many residents also took up the issue of water logging during the monsoon. Said Mr Vamsidhar, a resident said, “There are many localities that were built by encroaching on lake beds. They all get flooded after heavy rains. The government is yet to come up with a solution to this problem.”
Interestingly, the people of Pragathinagar (a major part of NMC) also want one other thing — more wine shops. Residents, only half joking, said the erstwhile gram panchayat had passed a resolution prohibiting wine shops which has resulted in the shortage today. A resident, wishing to remain anonymous, said in a serious tone, “We have to go all the way to the approach road or the KPHB main road to buy liquor. We would like more wine shops in our locality.”.