Coastal Regulatory Zone regulations have come in the way of development of Sagarnagar
Sagarnagar, a satellite township of Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), facing the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal is a residential colony in seclusion. The 1,200-odd houses built in mid-1980 was handed over to its allottees by 1992.
Two decades ago, very few lived in the colony and a majority of the houses were vacant. Being a sea-facing colony, many purchasers from the State and even NRIs viewed the colony as a future retirement home.
During the past two decades, houses began to be occupied by owners and tenants, who started feeling the pinch of increasing demand for houses in the ever expanding city. Today, the houses here are in demand due to economy house rents.
Naidu, a resident, says: “A decade ago, there were no takers for houses in the colony. The people here live as one family. We celebrate festivals together and every festival is a big event in the colony. We exchange home-made eatables and, at the end of the day, we organise cultural programmes, which are attended by one and all. The Sagarnagar Sankshema Sangham is active and attends to calls of residents for good or for resolving local issues.”
The houses include several categories such as higher income, middle income, and lower income groups, classified further into ABCD categories. The houses, when compared to other townships of VUDA, are spacious in plinth area as well as lounge space.
Residents say that Sagarnagar continues to be a secluded residential colony, as not much development has taken place on the Beach Road. Several private layouts could not materialise, as the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) regulations came in the way of development of the area.
The township was built much before the CRZ regulations came into force in 1992. Approvals for development of the area reportedly have come in the way and the colony stands isolated. Fishermen living in the area opposed all constructions within the CRZ area and therefore the stagnation.
The township is also home to several retired employees and officers of the government. For retired employees, the scenic beauty of the colony, moderate climate, and cool breeze of the ocean makes the sun rise enjoyable.
Tony, a retired employee living in the colony, says he enjoys the morning walks on the Beach Road and the climate is beautiful for those who believe in meditation and morning prayers. The serine atmosphere brings one closer to god and gives an opportunity to reflect, he adds.
Prasanna Kumar, another resident, says the stillness of the morning and the calm sea makes one enjoy the presence of the “Creator.” Life is peaceful and happy with all residents living as one family.
The colony has 12 places designated as parks sans development.
Recently, GVMC Commissioner M.V. Satyanarayana sanctioned development of a park in MID-D area, where women had come forward to maintain the park. Every morning, women water the plants and are protecting the park. The locals urge GITAM University management to adopt a few parks in the colony.
The residents are also urging the municipal authorities to remove water meters fixed in every house in the past with the promise to supply water for 24 hours. Since water is supplied for only one hour, the residents see no point in continuance of the water meters.
After residents complained of high water tariff, slab system was introduced. The residents are opposing even the slab system.
For the colony residents, president of Sagarnagar Sankshema Sangham Sriram Varma is a sort of their township honorary administrator as he takes initiative in representing local problems, resolving issues, and in organising celebrations. He is always at the beck and call of any resident.
Varma says that, of late, the colony is the most sought-after one by the middle class for a modest living.
The houses are in huge demand. A decade ago, one could get an LIG house for Rs.2 lakh and an MIG house below Rs.5 lakh. Today, it is Rs.10 lakh and Rs.20 lakh.