As the new Mayor assumed charge for GHMC will face tough challenges in tein cities, especially the old city areas where development is distant dream with AIMIM domination. Let’s wait and watch the results.

When the election of Banjara Hills TRS corporator Gadwala Vijayalakshmi as the Mayor of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Latha Sobhan Reddy as her Deputy in line with the party leadership’s choice indicated to the corporators in the sealed cover strategy of ruling TRS Party in Hyderabad.

In its long history of over eight decades, the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, which later expanded to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in 2007, is emerging as a Mega Global City. Vijayalakshmi becomes the fourth woman to don the Mayoral robes. The post is reserved for women for two terms from 2020 elections through a lottery draw held in the presence of political parties.

Rani Kumudini Devi became the first lady Mayor of Hyderabad in 1962, followed by Sarojini Pulla Reddy in 1965. In 2009, Banda Karthika Reddy, then a Congress corporator from Tarnaka, became the third woman Mayor unexpectedly when she headed the much-expanded jurisdiction under GHMC. She was in the office for only three years and succeeded by MIM’s Majid Hussein.

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Veterans recall that soon after Rani Kumudini became the Hyderabad Mayor in 1962, she had faced the challenge of flood fury that hit Hyderabad. Though she did not have much of experience as a corporator, the feisty lady took the initiative to formulate a plan to keep the city safe from floods then.

In a strange coincidence, Vijayalakshmi, too, who was a witness to the havoc created by the floods in the city in October 2020, twice in a matter of two weeks, which could have been the reason for the ruling party’s tally to come down to 56 from that of 99 in 2016. The hardships that people faced may have reflected in the outcome of GHMC elections held in December for the ruling party with a reduced tally.

Vijayalakshmi, daughter of senior TRS leader and Rajya Sabha MP K Kesava Rao, holds a degree in Law and Journalism and lived in the US for 18 years where she worked as a research assistant at Duke University, North Carolina. She returned to India in 2007 giving up her US citizenship and joined her father in politics. She contested as a corporator from the TRS in 2016 from the Banjara Hills division.

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The newly elected Mayor soon after the election said she would strive for the development of Hyderabad and improve its civic amenities in tune with its global image with a focus on the safety of women. Brushing aside reported remarks from certain sections that she had no understanding of the city’s problems, she said she grew up in Hyderabad and returned from the US years ago. “I definitely have a vision for the city and will strive to translate it into a reality,” she said.

The new Mayor takes charge of the GHMC at a time it is facing a resource crunch while resources are required for taking up several infrastructure works and projects.

Modernisation of the drainage system, revamping of stormwater drains, efficient solid waste management system, removal of nala encroachments, maintenance of minor tanks in and around the GHMC. The recent flooding in October 2020 was the result of overflowing tanks that flooded the nalas, which in turn flooded several localities in the Old City and other areas, says AIMIM MLC Syed Amin Jaffrey.

After 2014, the GHMC was not able to allocate development funds to divisions at Rs.1.5 crore to each of core divisions per year and Rs 3 crore each for divisions in the periphery to take up the development works on the lines of constituency development funds.

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The revenue of GHMC mainly accruing from property tax and building approval fee amounting to about Rs 3,500 crore to Rs 4,000 crore is barely enough to meet establishment charges and partial maintenance expenditure.  Apart from devolution of funds recommended by the Central Finance Commission at present there was no budgetary support from the State to the GHMC.

The flyovers and new roads under the Strategic Road Development Programme were taken up by the Hyderabad Road Development Corporation with bank loans and the GHMC issued municipal bonds two years ago to raise additional resources. But not enough to act on long pending proposals for revamping drainage system and other civic amenities, he points out.

The composition of GHMC Council this time with strength more, or less evenly distributed between the TRS, the BJP and the AIMIM, it calls for concerted efforts by all parties to approve works and improve amenities in all divisions. #KhabarLive #hydnews