Let Amaravati be upgraded
The officials have started the process to upgrade Amaravati into a city. They are holding public hearings in the 29 capital villages is in progress. The village panchayats have to be upgraded and merged to make a city.
This merger of the 29 village panchayats should have happened when Amaravati city was proposed for the capital city. When Amaravati was claimed as one of the five top world cities in future, the village panchayats should have been first merged and then made a city. This did not happen. An urban body – Municipal Corporation or Urban Development Authority – should have come into force by now. Only then, Amaravati could become a city.
The 29 villages should have been, thus, removed from the departments of panchayat raj and rural development and made part of the municipal administration and urban development, if the government was serious on making it a city, a capital city. This could have happened simultaneously while preparing masterplan for the city by the Singapore Consortium and architectural wonders by the Norman and Fosters. These initiatives did not happen then.
It is good at least now, the government started the upgradation of the villages. The village panchayats are to be scrapped and the villages are to be merged to make an urban body – a city – for all capital purposes. Let it happen as it should happen. Every city emerges with the merger of the villages in the neighbourhood and Amaravati too should become a city with the merger of its original villages.
However, a section of the media is now raising objections to this process. The media did not question why this process was not done in the last five years, because the party in power and the man in the top seat was the media’s blue-eyed boy.
The officials are expected to hold village meetings to get public opinion on the merger. These public hearings should be held democratically. The media is now questioning the process in which these public hearings are being held. The media forgets that similar public hearings were held by the officials during the previous government to create AP Capital Region Development Authority. The official process did not change. The public hearings will be held, on any issue, if they are mandatory, just as the officials decide and not as public demand nor as the democracy directs.
One wonders how the leaders and the media who want Amaravati to be a capital city, can see a city emerging without it being upgraded into an urban agglomeration with the merger of neighbourhood villages or other local bodies – both urban and rural.