In a setback for the Andhra Pradesh government, the elected body of the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad on Thursday shot down its proposal to form a Greater Hyderabad by merging 12 adjoining municipalities and the MCH.
At a meeting, convened to ascertain the view of MCH’s elected members, all parties, barring the Congress, opposed the proposal on Greater Hyderabad. The proposal was dumped after 75 members opposed it compared to 15 in favour.
Apart from the Telugu Desam Party and Bharatiya Janata Party, the allies of the ruling Congress, including the Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, voted against the proposal. In fact, the Congress was virtually isolated on the issue and it also faced embarrassment when some of its members either stayed away from the meeting or walked away just before the voting.
It may be recalled that the state cabinet had decided a month ago to form the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation by merging the surrounding 12 municipalities with the existing city corporation to “ensure planned and focused development of the metropolitan area.”
The existing MCH is spread over 172 square kms with a population of 3.61 million as per 2001 census. The government proposed to form Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation with an area of 725 sq km and population of 5.5 million.
The dozen adjoining municipalities proposed for merged with MCH include Alwal, Qutubullahpur, Kukatpally, Kapra, Malkajgiri, Uppal and Patancheru. Besides, eight villages under the Hyderabad Airport Development Authority were also proposed to be merged into the MCH area.
The MCH and the existing municipalities are required to give their consent for their merger before the government issues the statutory notification forming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Mounting a scathing attack on the Congress government for bringing forward the proposal to form Greater Hyderabad, MIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi said the move was politically motivated without any administrative merit. It went against the provisions of the 74th Constitution Amendment on nagarpalikas as well as the Congress manifesto for 2004 assembly polls, he added.
The MIM leader said Greater Hyderabad would not benefit the residents of the state capital but only burden the common man with higher quantum of civic taxes. He alleged that the proposal was intended only to benefit the builders, real estate owners and settlers (people from coastal Andhra settled in Telangana).
Mayor Teegala Krishna Reddy (Telugu Desam), Deputy Mayor G Subash Chanderji (BJP), Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLA Nayani Narasimha Reddy and MBT councillor Mohammed Amjadullah Khan also opposed Greater Hyderabad and accused the Congress of mooting the proposal with ulterior motives. Standing Committee chairman D Mohan (Congress) supported the proposal.
Akbaruddin Owaisi said Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy had taken a unilateral decision to form Greater Hyderabad without consulting other political parties. “The chief minister took the hasty decision without taking his own party councillors and leaders into confidence. He also did not consult the MIM, even though the Congress is sharing power with us in the MCH in controlling the standing committee for the last three and a half years,” he lamented.
By Syed Amin Jafri