Hyderabad: Merger of municipalities urgent for realty boom

Merger proposals changed overnight to cater to leaders.

Hyderabad: Merger of villages in surrounding Municipal Corporations and Municipalities is snowballing into a major controversy as political compulsions and real estate interests of ruling TRS leaders are allegedly becoming more important than planned development of urban areas and public convenience.

Merger proposals are being changed overnight allegedly to meet the real estate needs of party leaders, leading to opposition from the people. The merger process is getting delayed on account of this.

In Jagtial district, while merging TR Nagar village, which is 2 km away from Jagtial municipality, officials left Tharoor village which is just 1.5 km away. People of Tharoor village alleged that this was done for some TRS leaders who bought lands in TR Nagar. To increase the real estate value of those lands, the merger proposals were allegedly changed overnight.

The state government recently brought amendments to Municipalities Act in the just concluded Budget sesssion of the Legislature to pave way for the merger of surrounding villages in existing Muncipalities and Municipal Corporations and created new Municipalities. Officials were asked to send proposals in this regard. However, the officials are shocked to see their proposals getting changed overnight to merge far off villages, while leaving nearby ones.

In Peddapalli municipality, Pedda Kalvala village was left out from the merger, following stiff opposition from the villagers. But strangely, officials merged lands located in this village in the Municipality. Similarly, Timmapur village, which is near to Jagtial has been left out but the lands located on village outskirts have been merged. There are certain prescribed norms to be followed for merger of villages in municipalities. About 40 per cent of the population in villages should be engaged in non-agricultural activities, presence of urban facilities like function halls, cinema halls, market yards etc. The proposals sent by the district officials in this regard should be final. But all these rules are hardly being followed in any district due to political compulsion and real estate needs of local TRS leaders.

The state government had decided to form 71 new municipalities by merging 173 surrounding villages and also to merge 136 villages in 41 existing municipalities. To enable this, it recently passed an Act in the Legislature and sought proposals from the districts on shortlisted villages for the merger.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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