A `City of Delight' in the making

Print edition : December 03, 2004

Dasari Sreenivasulu, Vice-Chairman, VUDA. - C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

WITH its people-friendly approach, the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) has become a role model for other urban development authorities. Besides initiating several projects to transform the port city into a "City of Delight'', the VUDA has regulated the growth of the urban agglomerate. It has developed infrastructure and offered residential plots and houses to the people, especially the lower income groups.

The VUDA has jurisdiction over areas coming under the Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, the municipal towns of Vizianagaram, Bhimunipatnam, Gajuwaka and Anakapalli, and 287 villages in 178 gram panchayats - all together an area of 1,721 sq km. It was formed 26 years ago when the Town Planning Trust (TPT) was upgraded to include more areas under its jurisdiction in view of the growth potential of the region following rapid industrialisation.

After the senior Indian Administrative Service officer Dasari Sreenivasulu took over as its Vice-Chairman, the VUDA's activities gained a new dimension. Even while focussing on regulating construction activity and completing ongoing projects, the VUDA took up innovative projects such as SECURE (Senior Citizens User-friendly Residence). The pilot project envisages providing a user-friendly, quiet and peaceful colony for senior citizens. Promoted at Sagarnagar in the city overlooking the Bay of Bengal, it will have 27 units under two categories - single and double bedroom units of 969 square feet and 1,543 square feet respectively.

The project will have a gym, a yoga centre, walking tracks and a health care support system. Eco-friendly technologies such as Hollow Burnt Clay Trapezoidal Tubes have been employed in the construction of houses.

Another first-of-its-kind project of the VUDA is a group-housing colony at Kappulapada for the teachers of unaided schools and the paramedical staff of private nursing homes. The `budget-friendly' flats are aimed at providing decent accommodation to those who cannot own a house in the city owing to the prohibitive rates.

In the pipeline are plans to customise various projects to suit the requirements of various sections. "We in the VUDA want to show our concern to every section, besides renewing our commitment to promote Visakhapatnam into a tourist hub," Sreenivasulu, who is also the Special Officer of the VUDA, told Frontline.

The VUDA has taken up several mega projects to transform the `City of Destiny' into a tourist destination. "In future, Visakhapatnam will not only be known as a City of Destiny but also as a City of Delight," Sreenivasulu said.

Kailasagiri Park, which bagged the "Best Tourist Spot" award of the State government, has been developed on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the entire city. A major tourist attraction, it has several amusement facilities for children. A ropeway was introduced recently to give tourists a breathtaking view of the sea.

The Submarine Museum, set up after the decommissioning of India's first submarine, INS Kursura, is now maintained by the VUDA as per an understanding with the Navy.

The VUDA has laid a 11.6-km-long road from Venkojipalem junction to the holy town of Simhachalam, which is being compared to the Tirumala-Tirupati ghat road. The VUDA, with the sponsorship of various corporates and individuals, has planted medicinal plants and endangered herbs along the road. It also has view-towers at several places.

Meanwhile, existing parks such as VUDA Park-I and II have been given a facelift. The VUDA Children World is unique as it has a mini zoo and a mini library. Members of the VUDA Children World are offered free week-end viewing of several educative and adventure films at the VUDA Children's Theatre.

The expansion and beautification of the first stretch of 2 km of the 20-km-long Visakhapatnam-Bhimunipatnam beach road has been completed. Two new projects, "Sundram... Lahiri... Lahiri" and "Haritha Visakha", are awaiting clearance from the government. Under the former project, facilities will be offered for a cruise on the sea. Conferences and parties will also be allowed, on board a mini ship. "Haritha Visakha", a Rs.91-crore project, is aimed at developing greenery in the metropolitan region over four years.

A comprehensive Master Plan 2021 for the development of the region has been prepared after holding several rounds of discussions with elected representatives, citizens' welfare associations and so on. Zonal plans too have been developed.

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