Local leaders at Meerpet feel that merger with the GHMC will lead to loss of power and autonomy without much enhancement in civic amenities
As a highly urbanised locality, being annexed to GHMC would have seemed the only viable proposition for the Meerpet Gram Panchayat of Ranga Reddy district. But protestors here beg to differ .
They are apprehensive about the loss of power and autonomy without much enhancement in the civic amenities, if the merger happens.
Meerpet is a village suburb on the eastern boundary of the city, and falls into the rural half of Saroornagar mandal.
Though a panchayat, the village teems with concrete structures and is surrounded by urban localities such as Hasthinapuram Colony and B.N. Reddy Nagar housing the urban middle-class.
The merger order has made the local leaders indignant. They fear that revenue from property tax will have to be forfeited to GHMC, with no preferential treatment in the fund apportionment.
As a matter of fact, Meerpet generates significant amount of property tax due to the burgeoning building complexes. Former Mayor Teegala Krishna Reddy, hailing from the area, for one, is vociferous against the merger. The appropriate process would be to make it Nagar Panchayat, then the Municipality, and then merge it with GHMC after due time gap.
“How can the GHMC, which is not able to lay roads in its own colonies, develop the newly annexed villages? Further, such a drastic step will lead to increase in property tax and water bills, which people are not ready to bear,” he says.
However, there are others who allege political reasons behind the protests. Former MPTC Ranjith Reddy points out that the area has close to 90 urban colonies, small and big, and virtually non-existent cultivation.
Of the 1,100 acres of land, only 100 acres are being cultivated now, he points out.
“For lack of proper drainage facilities, sewage from three villages is left into three different lakes. There is no dump yard to shift the 20 tonnes of garbage generated each day, hence it is dumped in lakes.
After the Irrigation Department served notices recently, the garbage is being burnt openly resulting in smoke and pollution,” Mr. Reddy says.
Water Board reluctant
Though Rs.10 crore is sanctioned for water pipeline works, the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board is not coming forth to supply water as the village is not part of GHMC, he alleges.
“Political unemployment is the only reason behind the ongoing protests. Meerpet is different from other villages proposed for merger, as it is highly urbanised. Close to 60 per cent of the colony associations are willing for the merger,” he claims.