Vijayawada’s inclusive expansion
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To address this challenge, the Vijayawada municipal corporation (VMC) has taken up an innovative land-sharing model, partnering with the landowners of Jakkampudi and Gollapudi villages in two phases: phase I covers an area of 226 acres, and 787 acres are covered under phase II. The project was taken up under the BSUP (basic services for the urban poor) programme of the JNNURM. The first phase covered only the villages at Jakkampudi, and is completed. Altogether, 9,000 houses have been built in Jakkampudi area under this programme. The second phase, which includes the whole of Gollapudi and parts of Jakkampudi, is about to begin.
At first, the VMC went about their business in the conventional manner of land acquisition. Not making much headway there, they decided to get into a direct dialogue with the farmers and reached an agreement. Farmers agreed to part with 40 per cent of their land to the VMC for building houses for the economically weaker sections of society. In return, the VMC agreed to develop the 60 per cent that remained with them, for the use of original owners. Of this land, again, 40 per cent was given by the original owners for physical and social infrastructure. Thus, farmers in the end agreed to retain only 36 per cent of their original land — of course benefiting from the huge appreciation in its value that resulted from the infrastructure development.
The state government spent Rs 25 crore in actually bearing the cost of development charges for this land. The VMC, besides providing the urban infrastructure in the form of roads with open/closed drains, underground drainage system, reservoir for drinking water, and other physical and social infrastructure, also ensured connectivity with the city. This was done by building an inner ring road, a flyover bridge across the railway line, and improved connectivity to the national highway. This helped achieve integration in Vijayawada's urban expansion. However, a public transportation system has to be developed to make this connectivity truly effective.