Vijayawada: A tale of two cities

G Naga Sridhar Vijayawada | Updated on January 19, 2018

Tipping point Vijayawadas infrastructure will be under stress as it deals with the growing influx of people

Business is booming, but infrastructure is a sorry mess

The last six months have been exciting for M Raju, a cab driver in Vijayawada. A migrant from Chennai, Raju is never idle these days thanks to Vijayawada becoming an integral part of Andhra Pradesh’s new capital Amaravati.

“My earnings have gone up from about ₹12,000 a month to ₹15,000, thanks to the spurt in demand for cabs in this place,’’ he says while waiting for customers near the Prakasam Barrage here.

There are many like Raju who have seen a spurt in earnings in areas such as logistics, hospitality and realty due to the changing face of this city with a population of over 15 lakh.

“Today, there is no certainty of accommodation in any decent hotel without reservation as there is a steady inflow of politicians, officials and business persons,’’ Potluri Bhaskara Rao, Executive Director, Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), told BusinessLine.

Apart from travel and logistics, the industry body sees bright days ahead for the automobile, food and retail sectors.

Not all hunky dory

However, life is becoming difficult for the common man. According to K Hari, who works for Lanco Kondapalli Power, traffic has become a nightmare on the two main roads. With a population density of 14,000 per sq km, any surge in activity will worsen the situation.

A municipal corporation survey found that 90,000 vehicles ply every day just on a small stretch of Bandar Road.

“The shifting of the Secretariat will add about a lakh to the city’s population by June. Nobody knows how the city will absorb them. Widening of roads should be hastened,’’ Hari adds.

Vijayawada is one of the few cities in the country where 50 per cent of the population is below 25 years of age. It requires education infrastructure and hardly has any night life.

The businessmen in the city are also unhappy. For the existing auto ancillary and pharma units, claiming reimbursements for various subsidies/incentives has become cumbersome, says an ACCI functionary.

There has been no response from the government to a request by retail establishments for round-the-clock business hours, which was recently permitted in Hyderabad by the Telangana government.

There has also been considerable harassment from the Labour Department for the retail traders, claims Bhaskara Rao.

It remains to be seen if the administration rises to occasion to make the city liveable also.

Published on January 14, 2016

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