Minister for Infrastructure and Investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao on Saturday said the contention that there was no development in the panchayats merged with the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) was ‘not correct’.

The Minister visited the ‘Harita’ housing project at Madhurawada and Kailasagiri Health Arena along with Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) Vice- Chairman N. Yuvaraj and inspected the works being undertaken there.

Interacting with the mediapersons, Mr. Srinivasa Rao felt it was wrong to oppose the merger of Anakapalle and Bheemunipatnam Municipalities on the plea that there was no development in the newly merged areas in the past. He said Visakhapatnam could get the Metro Rail project, if it had a population of 20 lakhs.

The population of the city was falling short by a few lakhs and merger of these two municipalities could help in Visakhapatnam getting the prestigious project and contribute to the growth of the region. He, however, admitted that the newly merged areas need to be developed further. He said he had already submitted a proposal to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and hoped that it would be completed before the next elections.

On the cancellation of the ‘Harita’ housing project contract of VUDA, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said those, who were allotted houses in the project, had formed an association and represented to him. He said the Harita project would be completed in 18 months and the month-wise progress would be reviewed. It would be developed as a model township, he said.

The VUDA Vice-Chairman said Harita project was launched with 710 apartment units in 20 acres of area in the first phase. He attributed the delay in the work to a dispute with the contractor. The delay had led to escalation of cost by about Rs.40 crore thereby taking the project cost to Rs.160 crore.

VUDA Chief Engineer I. Viswanatha Rao, DFO B.V.A. Krishna Murthy, executive engineers V Bhavani Sankar, M Balarama Raju, Deputy Executive Engineers Devi Prasad Patro and M Satyanarayana and Haritha Allottees Association representative G.A.N. Bhukta were among those who participated.

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