Three of them have already been partially included in the civic body

With elections to the local bodies round the corner, proposals for expanding the limits of the Guntur Municipal Corporation have gained momentum. The Municipal Administration & Urban Development Department issued a memo (No. 7247) on March 5 stating that the State government has decided to include 10 gram panchayats in the GMC. Interestingly, three of the 10 panchayats have been partially included in the GMC.

The 10 panchayats proposed to be included in the GMC are Nallapadu (full), Pedapalakaluru (full), Ankireddypalem (remaining part), Adavitakkelapadu (full), Gorantla (full), Potturu (full), Chowdavaram (full), Etukuru (remaining part), Budampadu (remaining part), and Reddypalem (full).

The government has also issued a notice to the GMC to submit all objections/suggestions within a period of 10 days. The merger of the neighbouring panchayats, backed by strong political will, could probably change the political equations. At least five out of 10 panchayats have a strong vote bank of Kapus, a factor which the ruling Congress might take advantage of in the ensuing local elections. But on the flip side, some of gram panchayats have expressed their apprehension in the past citing increase in taxes. The Telugu Desam, meanwhile, has opposed the merger on the ground that the proposals have been made with an intention of gaining political mileage. Party official spokesperson Mannava Subba Rao said the proposals could not accepted as they failed to consider the surrounding villages. The YSRCP has said it will oppose the proposal tooth and nail. Minister for Agriculture Kanna Lakshminarayana has pushed for expediting the government's action and is actively working to wrest advantage. For the GMC, supplying water to the villages remains the biggest challenge though it is hoping that the World Bank-funded comprehensive drinking water project would be grounded soon.

Keywords: gram panchayatsGMC