Education, Karimnagar, National, Politics, Telangana

Why Karimnagar Smart City project isn’t a poll issue?

Flay the authorities for unscientific execution of Smart City works causing traffic woes by converting the wide roads into narrow roads

Conversion of Circus grounds and Old High School grounds into ‘paid parks’ is ridiculed as it had denied people to participate in sport activities and other entertainment programmes

KARIMNAGAR, MAY 05, 2024:  The voters will exercise their right to franchise in the Karimnagar parliamentary constituency on May 13 and the political tussle to win their favour is intensifying. Every party candidate has old and new promises to make but ironically most of these don’t match the demands of fast growing Karimnagar Municipal Corporation.

The Karimnagar Assembly constituency voters in general and Karimnagar town in particular want political parties to include their day-to-day issues in their manifestos. The residents of the Karimnagar, which is growing in leaps and bounds, is reeling under severe traffic woes, unscientific execution of Smart City by converting wide roads into narrow roads, encroachment of footpaths, illegal encroachment of vendors and auto-wallahs, pollution emergency due to the garbage fire on the shores of the Manair river and lack of social infrastructure and want answers to all these perennial woes.

The Karimangar town when it was in a Municipality had won Clean City award way back in the early 2000s because of its proper cleaning of the town by taking up night cleaning and collection of garbage from its generating places and its segregation. Following the intensification of Telangana statehood movement in 2009 after the death of then Chief Minister of integrated Andhra Pradesh state Dr YS Rajashekhar Reddy, the administration has went for a toss in all departments including the Municipality.

After the formation of separate Telangana state in 2014, the Union government had included Karimnagar City in the Smart City project. The problems of the residents started with the Smart City project in Karimnagar town.  The wide roads turned into narrow roads with the construction of footpaths adding to the existing woes of traffic snarls.

Besides, the authorities had converted the spacious Circus Grounds and Old high school grounds into paid parks instead of developing the new parks in various parts of the town. In the early 2000 year, then administrators had developed the parks on the shores of LMD reservoir with Ujwala park and Deer Park with ample space and all amenities including parking spaces and lush green coverage with huge trees and flowing plants.

Whereas, the Old High School grounds including Circus grounds converted into the ‘paid parks’ lack any facilities except for the synthetic track for the walkers in the morning and evenings. Before converting these places in ‘paid parks’, these open grounds had produced several national hockey and football players. These grounds were allocated for the entertainment facilities of the residents by organising exhibitions, circus shows and other events. These grounds also helped the youth to play cricket and other games. But, now playing is a distant dream on these grounds. If one wants to enter the premises, he has to shell out huge amount for himself and also for his vehicle.

In the year 2012, the authorities had taken up road widening works and beautification of the town under the ‘Mana Nagaram – Mana Karimagaram’. But as part of the Smart City project, the 100-feet roads had shrunken to 60 feet and 60 feet road into 30 feet roads by constructing footpaths causing umpteen woes to the people of the town with no parking place. The footpaths have turned into ‘extra space’ for the vendors and traders to encroach and cause inconvenience to the road users.

Another issue causing woes to the people of the town is the burning of garbage on the shores of the Manair river. The authorities had taken up Manair River Front and much-hyped cable-stayed bridge across the river Manair, but they had neglected the issue of shifting the garbage dumping yard from the picturesque shores of the river.

The residents of the town were facing several problems with the burning of the garbage and smoke engulfing entire town. Especially, the residents of Housing board colony, Kothirampur, Kattarampur, Ganeshnagar, and others were the worst affected due to the garbage smoke.

The Tower Circle, which was developed on the lines of Amritsar Golden temple, has turned from bad to worse. The authorities has part of Smart City project had converted the wide roads into narrow roads by constructing huge footpaths and neglected to provide parking places.

Neglecting the construction of the vegetable market at the old market area, the authorities had conceived the integrated market area opposite the Collector’s camp office. Incidentally, it also remained a distant dream.

No traffic jams, parking places, fresh air, water, garbage free town is what an ordinary Karimnagar resident wants.  Every election we expect candidates to talk about our problems and offer solutions but as the issues do not politically benefit them, these are ignored, says KS Narayana, Lok Satta Karimnagar town convenor.

We expect the Lok Sabha elections to be fought for the completion of basic amenities such as parks, open places,, parking lots, which are still lacking in many parts of Karimnagar. Besides, the auto-richshaw is another major issue concerning the people  of the town as there are the major factors for traffic snarls and harassing the customers without meters. Organised crime such as land grabbing was a big headache but not much talked about. It’s ironical that hardly any candidate knows what we want, said A Manohar, a government teacher.

Frankly speaking, the Karimnagar town has turned into ‘ugly city’ in the name of ‘Smart city’ project without any vision and scientific execution of the developmental works. The city is growing by adding adjoining villages into the Municipal Corporation, but the authorities were taking up developmental works in reverse and adding woes to the future generation, said Arun Kumar, a social activist.

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