Family members of farmers and old-timers who had nursed ambitions to become ward members for Nagaram Gram Panchayat were waiting expectantly for Friday, September 6. Everything was finalised, and it was a matter of just turning up at the Panchayat office to file nominations on Friday for Panchayat polls. This is when things went awry for the locals in Nagaram.
On the evening of Thursday, September 5, the government released an order, merging 15 Gram Panchayats with the GHMC. Among several other Gram Panchayats, Nagaram and Dammaiguda from Keesara Mandal were also included in the list to get merged. “On the morning of filing nominations, we were told that elections were kept in abeyance. What was the need for being so abrupt? It is clear that the decision to merge Nagaram was influenced by the present political developments,” says Bhongir Narasimha Rao, a ward member and a businessman at Nagaram.
Located just 4 km from ECIL Crossroads, in the last three years, Nagaram, despite being a Gram Panchayat, has witnessed a steady-paced development.
Owing to its vicinity to ECIL Crossroads, A.S. Rao Nagar and Kushaiguda, new middle-class and upper middle-class housing projects have either come up or are under construction.
A predominantly farmer’s village, Nagaram is now fast developing into a satellite township with infrastructure support like banks, petrol bunks, commercial establishments, international schools, apartments and shopping malls coming up at a quick pace. “If we are merged with the GHMC, then who will pay for the sky-high property tax, water bills and pay through the nose while seeking permissions? Everything here will become costly,” fears Sadashiva Reddy, a farmer.
Local people point out that in a Gram Panchayat set-up, officials are answerable. “If our colony street light had to be replaced, we just had to alert ward members or panchayat officials for quick response. “There are so many areas falling under the GHMC which do not have proper civic infrastructure. How can the GHMC improve Nagaram, which is so far away? asks T. Amarnath, another farmer.