A development story

The Guntur Municipal Corporation leaves no stone unturned to ensure the city's all-round growth. THE Municipal Corporation of Guntur dreams big for the residents of the city, which has a more than 200-year-old history. It has achieved many firsts in its relatively brief existence of less than 20 years. The young corporation also has the youngest Mayor in the country, 23-year-old Kanna Nagaraju. The 52-member Municipal Council is guided by the young dynamic Municipal Commissioner Siddhartha Jain. Guntur means the village of tanks. It is believed that this village first came up close to what is known as the Red Tank. The French held Kondaveedu, a nearby village, from A.D. 1732 and built a fort to the east of the area now known as Old Guntur. The French commander constructed houses for himself and for his troopers towards the north of present-day Nallacheruvu (Black Tank) and this area was called New Guntur. One of the fastest developing Tier-III cities in Andhra Pradesh, Guntur has pride of place among municipal corporations in the State. A vibrant city, home to some of the wealthiest traders in cotton, chillis and tobacco, Guntur has fast metamorphosed into a modern city with an array of glittering shopping malls, restaurants and commercial complexes dotting the skyline. Providing basic civic amenities to a growing city with a population of over seven lakh has been a demanding task for the local body. It, however, has achieved many firsts, and dreams of providing 24-hour water supply to domestic and industrial consumers and meet the needs of the industrial corridor that is fast coming up between Vijayawada and Guntur. The corridor is expected to convert these into major Twin Cities of Andhra Pradesh after Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The GMC has achieved remarkable progress in augmenting basic amenities such as drinking water supply, sanitation, street lighting and solid waste management. It also has an efficient system in place to redress public grievances. "The GMC is highly responsive to civic problems and innovative in toning up its administrative machinery,' said District Collector Mohammad Ali Rafath. SANITATION A series of special drives has been launched by the Municipal Commissioner to augment the quality of basic services such as sanitation. The three-bin system has become a reality in many apartment complexes in the city and garbage clearance is 100 per cent. A week-long special sanitation drive in the city identified several issues, and short-term and long-term plans have been envisaged to solve them. For solid waste management, the GMC got a grant of Rs.1.26 crore from the Twelfth Finance Commission, which was spent on procuring dumper bins and tricycles. Today local residents' welfare associations take care of 50 per cent of the house-to-house garbage collection system. The use of coloured plastic bins for waste segregation at source has been introduced in some commercial areas too. Seventy-six acres of land was recently acquired in Yedlapadu mandal for dumping waste. Works such as construction of drains, laying of roads, improvement of road junctions and development of burial grounds were taken up at a cost of Rs.24 crore. Siddhartha Jain said: "People should be proud of the city they live in and be motivated to be part of the planned development. A systematic approach to administration and planning is the need of the hour. Special drives to improve sanitation and provide water supply connections will help in identifying several issues.' MEDICAL CAMP Mayor Kanna Nagaraju. At 23, he is the youngest Mayor in India. The municipal body is going beyond its principal mandate of providing basic amenities to the people; the GMC organises mega medical camps. The camps held on the Sri Patibandla Sitaramaiah High School grounds in December every year witnesses a huge turnout. The latest camp attracted more than 15,000 people. A team of 85 doctors from 20 specialisations attended to 13,400 patients. Medicines costing Rs.8.4 lakh were distributed. As many as 180 paramedical staff, students of nursing colleges and 370 cadets of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) volunteered their services. The success of the camp motivated some private hospitals and clinics to offer follow-up medical service for the patients. They would be treated for a month at a hospital of their choice. One of the most daunting tasks for the corporation is to ensure potable drinking water for the entire city. Guntur, which does not have a raw water source, depends on the Guntur Channel and the Buckingham Channel to supply 80 million litres per day (MLD) against the total ideal assessed demand of 121 MLD. The centuries-old water source at Sangam Jagarlamudi has been renovated thanks to the special interest shown by the Mayor. A water filtration plant of 10 million gallons per day has been commissioned and four reservoirs have been built at L.B. Nagar, Srinivasarao Thota, R.T.C. Colony and Stambalagaruvu. Rise in rEVENUE The corporation saw a turnaround in its finances with a near 100 per cent collection of tax and non-tax revenue from individuals and commercial establishments. Innovative steps taken by Deputy Commissioner N. Yadagiri Rao to boost revenue collection have yielded results; of the total 1.14 lakh assessments, 941 were new assessments. The revenue wing has been trifurcated

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