Midhilapuri VUDA Colony was developed by VUDA as a model colony in 1989

Once considered secluded and an ideal destination for retired employees to live in peace amidst an amazing landscape, nature’s splendour and cool pleasant breeze, Midhilapuri VUDA Colony has now turned into a beehive of activity with several apartments under construction.

When it was developed by VUDA as a model colony in 1989, people were reluctant to construct houses due to lack of access to the city’s main thoroughfares. “Only one bus (25D) used to ply initially. To ensure minimum occupancy, we ourselves used to buy 10 tickets so that the bus would be operated regularly,” recalled M.R. Patnaik, a retired DGM of BSNL and one of the early settlers in the colony.

Blessed with green-capped hills and sandwiched between the busy NH-5 and the Visakhapatnam-Bheemunipatnam beach road, the area’s good days started with the real estate boom, widening of beach road and VUDA laying 100 ft. master plan road and development of Hi-tech City at Rushikonda.

At one point of time, many houses used to remain vacant as the demand for occupation was almost nil in the initial stages. “We were feeling bad by paying only house tax without any returns even as VUDA, which developed the layout, had failed to create the basic amenities like black-top roads and streetlights for several years,” remarked a resident.

When plots were allotted through lottery, VUDA sold them at the rate of Rs.1,300 to Rs.1,400 per square yard. Now they are fetching depending on their location from Rs.15,000 to Rs.35,000 per square yard. Aditya Group and VUDA are constructing gated communities in the area.

In a state of neglect

Notwithstanding its transformation into an upmarket area and its inclusion in the GVMC, there is no garbage collection system on regular basis. Dustbins are seldom seen. The citizens also lack civic sense as the presence of several of vacant sites and VUDA’s failure to ensure construction within the stipulated period has converted the vacant areas into dumping yards.

With garbage spread on road and vacant plots, most parts of the colony have turned into breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other disease carrying insects. “Of late, we are also seeing pigs. Our pleas to have proper garbage disposal system have fallen on deaf ears,” said Midhilapuri VUDA Colony Residents’ Welfare Association president G.S.V.S. Gupta.

Despite opposition from the residents, the Samajika Bhavan, built by VUDA as a community centre as per the layout, has been handed over the police, where the PM Palem Police Station has been shifted recently.

“We wanted VUDA/GVMC to grant us some funds and develop the community centre with amenities for reading books and recreation of senior citizens and others and hold meetings. Even some of our members had also volunteered to make required contributions. But to our chagrin, the police station was shifted from PM Palem Housing Board Colony to our area,” he said.

Check dams in bad shape

The colony has several check dams to ensure free flow of hill stream going through the colony. Now they are in a bad shape for want of proper maintenance. Residents feel smooth flow will also ensure groundwater recharge.

“Going by its location and topography, we consider ours is the best colony in the city. The first bus shelter was developed by the residents themselves in 1997,” P. Jayaram, association treasurer said. Residents seek conversion of a one km-stretch road from highway to the colony’s main road into 100 ft road as per promise made by VUDA. They also want action to end traffic jams in the school/office hours on the 30 ft service road, which connects the highway to the colony.

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