Marripalem VUDA Colony has many amenities, but grapples with associated problems

Nestled partly on a flattened hillock, which gives a picturesque view of the scenic Eastern Ghats on the North and the far-flung industrial area on the South, Marripalem VUDA Colony, located close to the National Highway-16 (formerly NH-5), with wide approach roads, trees, and ornamental plants dotting the roads, gives the first impression of a ‘model colony’.

A stroll down the lanes and by-lanes reveals the problems pestering the residents for a long time. One of the prestigious layouts of the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), it was developed during the mid-1980s, but construction of individual houses began during 1987-88. The construction gained momentum during the early 1990s.

“The colony has around 900 houses, including 45 apartment complexes and 10 group houses. A park has been developed in the colony, which has some play equipment for children, a neatly laid walking track, and two shuttle courts. Another place earmarked for construction of a second park in the colony has not been developed so far. We thwarted the attempts to encroach onto the vacant park land in the past,” say colony president M. Vasudeva Rao and past president C. Appa Rao. The colony has many public amenities such as a rythu bazaar, a community hall developed by VUDA, a park with a walking track and play equipment, Central government offices such as the Regional Passport Office and Provident Fund (PF) Office, State Bank of India, and State government offices such as District Cooperative Central Bank (DCCB) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) Office, and schools such as Stella Maris and Siva Sivani.

On the southern side of the colony, there are some police quarters and a Forensic Science Laboratory. “The placement of garbage dumper bins of the colony for collection just outside the Stella Maris School compound is resulting in health problems to the children. The foul smell emanating from the overflowing bins, collected once in two-three days, is causing nausea and vomiting sensation among the students. We have complained to the GVMC, but they are yet to act on it,” says V.V. Suryanarayana, colony secretary.

“Another major problem in the colony is that High Tension lines are passing through the colony. These HT lines pose a grave danger to residents as they are running at a low height. During rainy season, when avenue trees come in contact with the live wires, there is a threat of electrocution. The branches are chopped off regularly by the electricity staff. High-rise towers can be used to prevent the tree branches from reaching the HT lines,” he says.

“The rythu bazaar in our colony can be described as ‘the worst in the city’ as one can rarely get fresh vegetables after 7 a.m. Farmers arrive by 5 a.m. and middlemen descend in the next 30 minutes and make bulk purchases to resell the stock through retail outlets. The few remaining quantities are bought by the early morning walkers, who come from different areas, leaving hardly anything for the residents,” says M. Vasudeva Rao, colony president. “The apartments located on the flattened hillock, no doubt, offer a breathtaking view of the city. At the same time, some of the apartments run the risk of their foundations caving in from the rear as the plots on the other side are located at a lower level. A couple of years ago, a plot owner dug up the ground on the lower side for laying the foundation for his building when the retaining wall of the apartment complex on the hillock caved in and some of the pillars of the building also developed cracks giving sleepless nights to the residents. A retaining wall was built subsequently and the building was saved by reinforcing the pillars,” says colony treasurer B.S. Nageswara Rao. “Lack of clearing of the drains on a regular basis is resulting in health problems. The roads that have been dug up in the colony for the UGD work a few years ago have not been re-laid properly, resulting in inconvenience to both motorists and pedestrians,” says Rajeswara Rao, a resident. “Apartment complexes are relying solely on bore water instead of applying to the GVMC for bulk connections. This is resulting in depletion of groundwater and causing problems to residents living in individual houses,” says Mr. Appa Rao.

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