Devotees unhappy, govt says decision made for administrative convenience. Representational Image/DC
BHADRACHALAM: The classification of Bhadrachalam as three Gram Panchayats came as shocking news to citizens of the holy town as they were seeking its upgradation as a municipality. Agency laws prevented the government from such an upgrade.
The Bhadrachalam village, where the Lord Sitarama Chandraswamy Temple is located, was turned into one of the three Gram Panchayats and named Bhadrachalam. All the choultries, temple guest houses, the Mithila stadium, the annadana satram, the amba satram, business bazaars, the RDO office, the ACP office and the Transco office come under the Bhadrachalam GP.
Upgrading it as a municipality is an uphill task and the government should have the approval of the Parliament and President to change the Scheduled Area acts.
The extent of the Bhadrachalam GP is only 700.4 acres in the survey numbers 1 to 51, 121 to 126 and a part of 127, 128 and 132. It will have 21 wards.
The second gram panchayat, christened Seetharamnagar, spreads over 349.77 acres from survey numbers 52 to 90. About 17 wards are part of this. The vegetable and agriculture markets comes under Seetharam Nagar.
The third gram panchayat is Shantinagar with 17 wards covering 997 acres. The ITDA office and other colonies form its part.
The Bhadradri Parirakshana Committee convener B Sankar Reddy said, "We urge the government to upgrade the holy town as a municipality. The population of the town has touched to 75,000. It was 50, 087 in the 2011 Census. It seems the government took the decision to increase political posts. The posts of three gram panchayat sarpanches and 55 ward members would be created but there is no benefit to Bhadrachalam and its people."
Notably, the state government, which had decided to upgrade Bhadrachalam as a municipality, sought to change the agency acts. In view of this, it also postponed the Bhadrachalam panchayat elections. However, Gondwana Samkshema Parishad convener S Veeraiah approached court and sought elections in the holy town. In response, the court asked the state government thold the elections. It is in this context that the state government issued a GO turning Bhadrachalam into three gram panchayats.
N Srinivas, devotee of Lord Rama said, "Bhadrachalam should be kept as one Gram Panchayat at least, instead of splitting it. The division sounds odd."
Interestingly, the three newly carved gram panchayats are being considered as major ones in Telangana. No other GP in the state has a population of more than 25,000.
The shape of gram panchayats in the state was changed as the government upgraded all hamlet villages as GPs.
Bhadrachalam gram panchayat secretary Venkateswarlu said, "There are advantages with the three GPs. The number of employees will be increased. It will be easier to deal with three GP offices set-up than one office with a huge 75,000 population."