Vijayawada

Post-bifurcation dream run ends

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Business community’s morale hits a low as talk of State capital being shifted to Vizag gains momentum

The city today is completely different from what it was ten years ago and it is apparent from the makeover its thoroughfares and public spaces have undergone. The end of the year 2019 is also the end of the 2010s, and a cursory look at this period reveals that the city saw its peak of development in certain aspects.

On many fronts, from transportation to policing and municipal grievance redress to private infrastructure development, the city witnessed advancements that made it the tenth fastest-growing economies in the world, according to an Oxford Economics report.

Though the growth trajectory was almost flat until 2014, it picked up and reached peak in the rest of the decade post bifurcation of the State and announcement of the Capital Amaravati. Businesses in the hospitality and food industry, automobile and other sectors thrived as the potential customer base increased manifold due to increased political and administrative activity in the region.

During the last few years, the city got bigger malls, taller buildings, public WiFi, international air connectivity, app-based cab and bike taxi services and several others that changed the horizon as well as people’s lifestyle.

Reaching for the skies

Traffic at the airport increased every year post bifurcation. The city airport registered an increase of 500% in passenger traffic between 2014 and March 2019. During the fiscal year 2018-19, it handled a whopping 11.84 lakh international and domestic passengers, while the number was only 2.31 lakh during 2014-15.

The airport, which is about 50 years old, also got its new passenger terminal and the old terminal refurbished into an international one.

Roads, one of the important parta of civic infrastructure, were developed after a very long time ahead of Krishna Pushkaralu in 2016. Until then roads were not laid for years.

The municipal corporation was able to beautify canals, parks and public spaces to an extent and also painted the city colourfully, thanks to the Swachh Bharat initiatives. The city also topped the country as the cleanest big city in 2017 and improved its rankings in Swachh Survekshan.

On the flip side, the city is still lagging in many aspects that concern the common citizens and basic civic infrastructure is still a distant dream.

Raising a stink

City’s biggest development project, stormwater drainage, work on which began years ago, is still incomplete. The plight of residents of several colonies is to be seen to be believed.

The city still couldn’t have an underground drainage system that extends to all the households and also not all the households in the accessible limit to the system uses it due to various reasons.

Road traffic and the problems associated with have increased manifold. Parking spaces are become smaller by day as the number of vehicles increased.

The realty sector too witnessed a boom ever since the capital announcement and in tandem with the demand for properties, realtors jacked up prices.

Residential property rents too skyrocketed burdening thousands of families. Several requests by the then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, fell on deaf ears. The flood, which was the worst after the 2009 flood, once again proved that the city is yet to get over the decades-old problem.

A bridge too far

The Benz Circle and Kankadurga flyovers, which are supposed to be finished and thrown open to the public, are still incomplete.

That being said, it appears that the end of the year is also the end of the boom time for the city going by the State government’s new plans of shifting the capital to Visakhapatnam, the State’s biggest city in the near future.

Though there has been no public outcry, the business community sees a bleak future. Various associations of realtors, building construction workers, traders, wholesale merchants and others formed a JAC opposing the government’s plan of shifting the Capital.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 3:12:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/post-bifurcation-dream-run-ends/article30398248.ece

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