Manikonda municipality has been in news lately for all the wrong reasons.
Last month, the residents of the Tirumala Hills colony in Manikonda protested over the encroachment of open spaces in the colony.
In September 2021, a software engineer fell into an open Nala and was washed away at a worksite between Golden Temple and Tulip Gardens at Manikonda during the rains. Following this incident, an assistant engineer working at Manikonda municipality was suspended.
The residents of the municipality are unhappy with the ineffective administration. Recently, they have created the petition `#IASforManikonda'. "Without an able administrator preferable an IAS officer in the rank of Addl. Collector, there is rampant corruption, builder-bureaucrat nexus, illegal occupation of parks, open spaces, encroachment on endowment lands and roads, etc," reads the petition.
Manikonda is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Hyderabad with a budgetary allocation of over Rs 100 crores per annum. Sandwiched between Hitec city and Gachibowli, the majority of the people living here are software engineers or cine workers. People ask that despite being a leading contributor to the overall GDP of the city, why is Manikonda neglected?
In 2018, Manikonda was converted into a municipality by merging three-gram panchayats --Manikonda, Alkapur, and Neknampur. A municipal commissioner heads the administration but the residents are not happy.
"We need an efficient IAS officer to look after the administration of the municipality. We need more transparency in governance," says Ajay*, a resident of Alkapur Township in Manikonda municipality.
If you plan to see around the Alkapur Township in Manikonda on foot, you are doomed. With the footpaths already encroached by street vendors, plants, or the open pipeline set up, there is absolutely no space for the pedestrians on road.
"For laying water lines, they dig everywhere. Some of these works have been going on for the last six months. But none of the roads have been restored," says Ajay*.
Ram*, another resident of Alkapur says, "Footpaths have been encroached by builders for dumping their wastes and as a result, the small street shops were shifted."
No Proper Roads
Connectivity is a big issue in the Manikonda municipality. Public transport is hardly available and people use cabs or private vehicles to commute.
The bumpy ride from Lanco Hills road to Manikonda is going to give you severe backaches for the next few days. The speed breakers are broken and the roads are filled with potholes. This is the condition of the only route that connects Manikonda to the city.
Interestingly, there is no road laid at the entrance of Neknampur village connecting Alkapur township with the village.
Stormwater open drainage system
A pungent smell welcomes the commuters and pedestrians at road no 25 in Alkapur Township. It's coming from a roadside stormwater open drainage which has become the new breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"This water goes to the Neknampur lake. It has to be treated before that but the water goes untreated and it has polluted the lake also," says Ajay*.
The stormwater open drainage is supposed to collect and channelize the excess rainwater avoiding a situation of urban floods. But with the dumping of garbage and improper treatment of the drainage, it has turned out to be a headache for the people of Manikonda.
Besides this, a lot of roadsides in Manikonda have become dump yards where pigs find their food.
"There are around 11 parks in Alkapur township alone. But only seven are functional now," says Ram*.
Residents complain about private parties bribing the officials and encroaching the parkland for expanding their activities. "Having parks where old people can take rest or children can play will place the township as a good example for the society," says Ram*.
"People are taken for granted," says Ram*.
The residents feel that there is no one to hear and resolve their problems and to enforce rules and regulations.
"We keep writing to the commission and raise the complaint on the buddy app but we never get a proper response," says Ajay*.
Interestingly, the Citizens' Buddy app just closes the complaints that the residents file by informing them that the TPO is on leave or has been transferred.
Due to this inaction from the municipality, now some of the residents also feel discouraged. "They say, anyways something or the other happens and our demands won't be acknowledged," says Ram*.
"Earlier, there were only 2000 people or so when it was a gram panchayat, but now there are more than 15,000 people. So the pace of administration should change accordingly," says Vinay*, another resident of Alkapur Township.
On October 29, 2021, K Phalgun Kumar, joint director of CDMA was appointed as the new municipal commissioner of Manikonda.
(* On request of residents, the names have been changed)