Andhra Pradesh

Uncertainty over Smart city project

Steep rise in land prices dampens industrialists’ mood

The land rates are skyrocketing and increased beyond the reach of industrialists in the Muthukur and Nellore rural mandal limits after the announcement on Krishnapatnam smart city was made in the Union Budget for 2014-15. The rates, which used to be Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh per acre, have now gone up to as high as Rs. 3 crore.

The unforeseen development on realty front took the industrialists by surprise and they had intimated the same to the government. For the smart city to take full shape near the Krishnapatnam port in Muthukur mandal, industries relating to varied sectors like manufacturing, electricals and electronics should have to come up in the vicinity.

As of now, there are a few thermal power projects and oil extraction factories in a 30-km radius of the port. Eighty per cent employees of these industries, including the port, are residing in Nellore city now.

Seeing the mood among the industrialists on speculation of land rates, the government has expressed its helplessness on the smart city aspect. This has gone contrary to the rising expectations and aspirations of the people of Nellore on the natural benefits that their city would derive out of the Krishnapatnam smart city project.

Several demands have come up for developing the social and civic infrastructure in Nellore as part of the sanctioned smart city. This included the linking of as many as 25 villages in its surrounding areas by laying an Outer Ring Road (ORR).

Already, 14 villages have been merged with the Nellore Municipal Corporation (NMC) with the present population of Nellore city stated to be nearly 7 lakh as against 4 lakh in 2001. “The villages have been merged but no civic infrastructure has been developed accordingly. Necessary facilities should be created to make it really look like a city,” said Siva Prasada Rao, official spokesperson of the Telugu Desam Party Nellore district unit.

There are also pleas for underground drainage system, housing for 1.5 lakh dwellers living in 72 slums and construction of railway overbridges at B.V. Nagar, Ramalingapuram and Vedayapalem areas in the city.

P. Surender Reddy, president of Bharatiya Janata Party Nellore unit, said that development of Nellore should be taken as part of the smart city and the Swarnala Cheruvu (Nellore Tank) should be developed on the lines of the Tank Bund in Hyderabad. “This will create new potential for developing tourism spots here,” he added.

The Penna river flows through Nellore city for over 12 km with various organisations seeking developing of bunds on either side here so that it would prevent pollution in the riverbed. Encroachments on the existing peripheries and also canal bunds should have to be removed.

As there was an exorbitant increase in land rates in the vicinity of Nellore, the government has become sceptical of developing an industry-friendly smart city. “I have serious doubts about this. If industries don’t come up, then this project will have problems. Everybody should cooperate in this regard,” said Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu during his recent visit to Nellore.

The people of Nellore were also urged to extend their support to get the spin-off benefits out of the smart city project. Nearly Rs. 70 crore Central funds were expected for this project, which would be implemented to suit the needs of both local residents and the workforce of emerging industries.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 9:35:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/uncertainty-over-smart-city-project/article6234506.ece

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