Vijaywada: A city that remembers and honours its bureaucrats…

This is an interesting pointer from Anantha Nageshwaran.

Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh is a unique place which names its landmarks in bureaucrats which tried to develop the city:

Notwithstanding their contribution to cities, bureaucrats heading the civic bodies often go unsung. But Vijayawada has this unique tradition, which, probably no city or town in the State has. Unlike the common trend of naming a street or locality after a freedom fighter or a politician or achievers in different fields, the denizens here have named a few colonies and roads after civil servants in recognition of their services in changing the face of the city.

The trend has been continuing since Vijayawada was a municipality in 1960s. IAS officer Ajith Singh was first to receive the kudos for his contribution for the development of the city, while the latest is Natarajan Gulzar, who vigorously pushed the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

During Ajith Singh’s tenure, vast stretches of land in abutting villages was acquired for the city development and also for future needs. The locality that developed beyond the Government Press area and the Budameru drain is popularly known as “Singh Nagar”, though the Vijayawada Municipality named it as Ajith Singh Nagar. As the city grew, the municipality was upgraded into Corporation in 1981. The State government in early 1984 planned to construct a huge RTC complex. The slum Bhaskarraopeta, where the RTC Bus Station now stands, was evicted as part of the development plans. Urmila Subba Rao, then Municipal Commissioner, took extra efforts in the rehabilitation of the displaced. The slum dwellers who got land on the outskirts named their colony Urmila Subba Rao Nagar, say old timers.

 Another Commissioner Rajiv Sharma succeeded in getting Rs. 50 crore worth Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) during his tenure from 1987 to 1990. The scheme was a boon for the city which had 136 identified slums. Many families that were living on the margins of the highway were rehabilitated in an area which is now called Rajiv Nagar, recalls the then VMC Standing Committee chairman Samanthapudi Narasaraju.

A road near Payakapuram was named after Krishna District Collector A.V.S. Reddy. The road changed the fortunes of the villagers in the vicinity. In the recent past, a bridge near Ramalingeswara Nagar is named as Gulzar bridge; the conference hall at the VMC is known as Gulzar Samalochana; and a road near D.V. Manor is called Nataraj Gulzar Marg.

This is because the city made rapid strides during Mr. Gulzar’s tenure, as many projects under the JNNURM were sanctioned. He put a check on tax evaders and had set a target of collecting vacant land tax.

 One is particularly excited to know about Gulzar Natarajan who also runs a widely popular and highly ranked blog – Urbanomics – as well.

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