Major Developments in Hyderabad – March 2013

The people of Hyderabad, witnessed the onset of summer in the month of March. Mercury rose to 39 degree Celsius signalling the arrival of summer. Besides heat, the people of Hyderabad had to deal with frequent power cuts and shortage in water supply.

Despite the heat, many people in Hyderabad continued with their fasting prayers – Christians during Lent, more importantly on Good Friday and Hindus on Shivrathri. Couple of other festivals were also celebrated in the city – Holi, the festival of colours and Easter, the festival of Christ’s Resurrection.

Half-day schools started in the city to beat the summer heat and some schools have completed the final examinations for pre-primary classes. SSC and Intermediate exams were also finished in the month.

There was chaos among people on STBs (Set Top Boxes), as government set March 31st as deadline for mandatory installation of STBs.

Below are some of the major developments in Hyderabad in the month of March, 2013. Read on and stay informed.
General

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting fixed March 31st as deadline for mandatory installation of set top boxes (STBs) for TV sets. The order bought chaos and confusion among people on why STB is made mandatory. There was news that due to heavy demand of STBs on the last hour, there was shortage in stock.
  • GHMC was awarded with Best Civic Management of Tourist Destinations under National Tourism Awards. The award was given based on cleanliness of the tourist destinations, roads and public places, disposal mechanism, integrated garbage collection, community involvement and public-private partnership.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), public auditor, criticised Andhra Pradesh government’s financial management and budgeting process. The CAG report on state finances for the year 2012, pointed out many loopholes in the AP financial budget like insufficient allocation of funds, non-utilisation of funds, irregular parking of funds and the like.
  • After the Dilsukhnagar blasts, the city police directed many parks to install CCTV cameras. Lumbini Park, Sanjeevaiah Park and NTR Gardens were closed due to security concerns, but were later opened after the security check was done. The timings of NTR Gardens and Lumbini Park were revised for summer.
  • The collector has appealed LPG consumers to submit Aadhaar details to LPG dealers and banks. The details given by consumers will make it easy for the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to deposit the LPG subsidy straight into the accounts of consumers.
  • LPG consumers for the financial year 2013-2014 will be getting only nine gas cylinders. Gas agencies will be considering the date of delivery instead of date of booking. If the quota of nine cylinders is exceeded, consumers will have to pay more to get a cylinder.
  • The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Textile Associations (APFTA) went into strike from March 9 to March 28 to protest against the imposition of the value added tax (VAT) on textiles by the state government. Textile traders called off strike after they got assurance from the government that the authorities will look into the matter and resolve it.

Education

  • With the beginning of summer, government asked schools to reduce the school timings from March 15. The half day school timings are from 8 am to 12.30pm.
  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted 10th and 12th standard exams beginning from March 1st and March 2nd respectively. The highlight of this year’s exams was introducing “value-based questions” in all major subjects, which carry up to 3 to 5 marks.
  • Nearly 100 feeders linked with exam centres in the city were exempted from power cuts during the exam time, i.e., is 9 am to 12 noon, thanks to APCPDCL’s consideration.
  • Hyderabad (along with Tirupati) was excluded from the list of centres for Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC, with Vizag being the lone centre in the list. The incident caused panic among the 24,000 candidates from Hyderabad appearing for the exam. However, UPSC reconsidered its decision and included both the centres in the list.
  • SSC and Inter exams were held in this month. A record number of students appeared for SSC exam. More than 1.5 lakh Inter students, in general and vocational courses across the state appeared in first and second year exams.

Electricity

  • The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) has issued a new power tariff schedule for the year 2013-14, which will come into effect from 1 April 2013. According to the new tariff, except for BPL families, agriculture sector and those who consume 200 units per month, the rest of the slabs and categories like the domestic, commercial, industrial, etc. saw a hike. For detailed information on the new rates click here.
  • Domestic users in the state faced 3 hour power cut, implemented in two spells one in the morning and one in the evening. However, according to the sources, there is a possibility of additional power cuts in the next few months.

Health

  • State government has decided to implement a new health policy this Ugadi for its employees and pensioners for medical treatment in order to limit the benefits they are availing. Based on the categories of beneficiaries, they have to pay monthly premium of Rs 90 and Rs 120 for the new insurance policy.

Roads and Transport

  • APSRTC introduced 2 new CAT cards – Navya and Vihari for citizens. Navya card comes in 3 categories – Rs 250 for a fresh card, Rs 150 for renewal and Rs 100 for add-on. Vihari card is available for Rs 500 and is valid for one week. While the Navya card holders can avail 10% concession in all classes of inter-district buses, except air-conditioned and city buses, Vihari holders can avail 50% concession in the same.
  • APSRTC rationalized the existing CAT card scheme by introducing Rs 250 card by which maximum 4 family members can travel in RTC buses for the number of times around the year within the state by paying additional amount of Rs 100.
  • According to Special Task Force on metro-rail project, 6 key stretches will be barricaded for construction of piers. They are S.R Nagar-Punjagutta, Moosarambagh-Malakpet, HiTech city-Jubilee Hills check post, Mettuguda-Sangeet junction, DCP North office-Parade grounds, Rasoolpura-HPS and Begumpet-Greenlands.

Real Estate

  • From this financial year, building owners who are evading property tax will have to pay 250% fine, if they are detected to be out of the tax net of GHMC. The civic body has made this amendment to the existing act to make sure that all the building owners are paying tax properly. As per their records, as many as 50,000 such buildings are in the city.
  • In a major relief to property tax payers, municipal administration and urban development authority has waived the interest on arrears and current year dues of the property tax up to 31 March’13. This was a one-time concession to the property owners in the city and corporation limits provided if they clear all dues including those of current year in a single payment. For those who have already paid the interest, the adjustment will be made in the future payments.
  • The state government gave approval on the property tax hike. The work plan submitted by the AP state property tax board with an objective to generate more revenues through taxes was approved by the government. Their main objective is to collect taxes and non-taxes to a projected target of 90% during 2013-14 and 92% during 2014-15 and to cover 80% properties in 2013-14 and 85% in 2014-15. Get ready to pay more tax!
  • In a move to make the property tax defaulters pay the tax before the due date, the GHMC officials displayed the names of the defaulters along with their index number, door number, locality name and the due amount at public places on big boards and flexes.
  • Property registration charges revision which was pending for the past two years finally got green signal from the state government. According to the GO released by registration and stamps department, the revised rates will come into effect from April 1. According to the sources the registration rates for land were revised between 20% to 50% on the existing value and the apartment (flat) registration between 20% and 80%. The hike was different in different parts of the city. The fear in the citizens about the hike resulted in last-minute rush at the stamps and registration offices during the month end.

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