Serilingampally, a swanky showpiece of Telangana’s progress

In the heart of Hyderabad, the Serilingampally constituency, which is gearing up for a crucial showdown between the BRS, Congress and BJP, stands as a microcosm of contrasting narratives — a vibrant tapestry woven with the glitzy skyline of modern development and the echoes of traditional communities grappling with change

November 22, 2023 06:15 am | Updated November 27, 2023 05:25 pm IST - HYDERABAD

A view of a thoroughfare in Serilingampally, where brisk construction work is in progress to streamline the flow of traffic.

A view of a thoroughfare in Serilingampally, where brisk construction work is in progress to streamline the flow of traffic. | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

Serilingampally, Hyderabad’s eye candy, boasts towering glass and chrome structures that sparkle in the night, alongside multi-level flyovers, glamorous malls, the enchanting lights of Durgam Cheruvu Bridge, numerous lakes, and ancient rock formations that are billions of years old. This constituency, the largest numerically with 7,32,506 voters, extends from Wattingala Palli in the west to the existence of a place like Beverly Hills (yes, you read that right) in the east. It reaches from Khajaguda in the South to HMT Colony in the North.

“We championed the cause of Telangana, fasting in its pursuit. While past leaders pledged development, K. Chandrasekhar Rao has truly delivered. But it would be better if my job is regularised and my salary is increased. That would be perfect,” says S. Rukmini, a contract worker at the Serilingampally Municipal Corporation office. For Gopinagar’s resident, a vote for Telangana means a vote for BRS.

Just off the road leading to Chandanagar, a multistoried residential complex is taking shape across from the municipal office. Each apartment in this development is priced between ₹1.36 crore and ₹1.77 crore. Two decades ago, the very spot hosted a lake. Now, the lake is a mere remnant, overshadowed by a vast colony of low houses on the opposite side. Drainage and sewage flow into the diminished lake, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes as residents sit outside their homes. The walled compound of Papireddy Nagar’s Community Hall hosts tethered buffaloes and serves as home to a workforce engaged in low-wage jobs and miscellaneous errands, contributing to the local economy.

Yedukondalu, a resident of Papireddy Nagar, earns a living by ironing clothes in the Gulmohur Colony. He shares, “Our community holds around 150 votes, and my family contributes about 20 votes. Unfortunately, none of us has received the 2-BHK dignity house. Despite providing all the required details and being summoned to the municipal office, we were denied entry to the room as our names were not on the list.” Yedukondalu’s family, originally from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, now considers Hyderabad home, much like thousands of others in the constituency.

The Assembly constituency hosts prestigious educational institutions such as the University of Hyderabad, International Institute of Information and Technology, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and B.R. Ambedkar Open University. Additionally, it is the location of upscale private schools like Oakridge International School and Chirec International School. In close proximity, approximately 50 metres from the Sancta Maria International School, stands ZPHS Serilingampally. The school building is currently undergoing development, with a new block in the construction phase.

Suryakant, who runs a small kirana shop in Chandanagar, reveals, “I am currently paying ₹2,400 as school fees for my two children in a local school. While the school isn’t top-notch, it is still a preferable choice over the government school. Improving the quality of government schools would significantly ease our lives,” emphasising the need for enhanced educational facilities.

According to a poll pamphlet from the BRS party, ₹14 crore has been invested in enhancing school education infrastructure in the constituency through the Mana Ooru Mana Badi programme.

Rich-poor divide

Srinivas Goud, who works at a petrol pump, remarks, “Arekapudi Gandhi has hit the ground running. Others will have to create space for themselves.” Despite acknowledging the improvements, he adds, “The poor haven’t seen substantial progress in the State. Those with financial means continue to prosper. The BRS is likely to secure victory, but with a narrow margin,” reflecting on the prevailing economic disparities.

To be fair, the Serilingampally constituency exudes a palpable sense of progress. The provision of free ‘She shuttles’ for working women predates a similar initiative by the Congress government in Karnataka. The area boasts well-maintained parks, and the broad roads in Serilingampally makes life easier for bus drivers, a contrast to the challenges faced by TSRTC buses in congested areas like Mahbub Chowk or Charminar. However, it is another story during the monsoon or after a downpour, with thousands of cars and two-wheelers painstakingly inching across the city.

In the electoral arena, Arekapudi Gandhi from the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) faces contenders V. Jagadeeshwar Goud of the Congress and Ravi Kumar Yadav of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the noisy cacophony of campaigning reaches a crescendo, the voters find themselves with a decisive role to play.

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