If small is beautiful, this colony should have eminently qualified for it. But it stopped half way through. The stunted growth reflects in its bad shape of roads, lack of proper approach roads, wilted saplings, a green belt that simply vanished and a water pollution problem.

Wedged between the ZP High School and the Rytu Bazar, Gopalapatnam VUDA Colony comprises 87 plots. A mango orchard for a long time, it has been transformed into a residential colony after the residents purchased the plots in auction at more than four-times the prevailing market rate in 2001.

“It took considerable time for us to get the basic amenities like electricity when we took up construction,” says N. Krishna Rao, a Naval Dockyard employee, who is among the first few to build his house in the colony. Since then the colony has come a long way.

It is 13 years since VUDA auctioned the plots but the same roads and drains laid then are still being used. Roads are in a bad shape and need to be re-laid after underground drainage work, says VUDA Colony Residents’ Welfare Association secretary M. Srinivasa Rao.

The association membership being small initially, it had to struggle a lot to safeguard the interests of residents. For instance, the open space meant for a park was proposed for construction of public toilets but was firmly resisted by residents putting an end to it. The association has been pursuing colony development issues with the public representatives and GVMC. The southern compound wall had collapsed and cost Rs. 60,000 for the association to repair. Later, a major portion was restored, with the help of the Corporation, at a cost of Rs. 2 lakh, says M. Kishore Kumar, association president for nearly 10 years and associate professor of GVP College of Engineering .

Since then the park has seen development in phases. When N. Srikant was Municipal Commissioner, a compound wall was constructed spending Rs. 5.3 lakh and drains repaired at a cost of Rs.1.5 lakh.

It took another five to six years to install play equipment and jogging pathways, costing Rs.6.5 lakh. Since January, the Horticulture wing of GVMC has developed green cover, with royal palms dominating the landscape, and implemented a quarterly maintenance schedule, spending Rs.1.4 lakh. Now it has become a showpiece of the colony and beehive of activity with children from neighbouring areas flocking in by evening, though it still requires lighting. A tank was constructed for watering the plants helping them survive the scorching summer. . The roads also offer plenty of scope for a plantation drive, yet remain exploited.

The approach road to the colony, the road on the first lane, the compound wall, park development and major drain repairs near the park have been completed, says Behera Bhaskara Rao, former corporator of Ward 68.

Restore green belt

Besides improving roads and drains, the green belt on the eastern side abutting the shops on the main road should be restored and improved all around the colony, says association president Chintala Bhaskara Rao. The association is ready to work with GVMC in any initiative.

With the BRTS road at the Rytu Bazar having no U-turn, the colony roads have become bypass for hundreds of users requiring relaying.

The damaged southern compound wall is leading to anti-social activities and incidence of thefts, says G. Meena Kumari, Accounts Officer with BSNL, a resident for eight years. Some people use the open spaces abutting the wall as open toilets. The drain stagnates, as there is no manhole, emanating stench and sometimes the remnants from the meat shops get stuck there making life miserable, she complains.

Zone VI Commissioner Y. Sai Srikant assured the residents that any deficiencies in infrastructure will be met and further amenities in the park provided.