While huge funds are being pumped in to beautify the main roads, fly-overs and important junctions in the city for CoP-11, bastis and interior areas are being ignored

B for biodiversity. But A is for axing trees, C for chocking drains and D for dusty roads. The list goes on. In fact all the 26 letters of English alphabet are not enough to paint a correct word picture of what ails the city.

As road after important road gets a fresh coat of tar those in the adjacent bastis cry for attention. Defunct fountains are made functional on busy intersections even as drains overflow in dingy lanes. Many flyovers now sport eye-catching art work while those sleeping beneath them are deprived of their shelter. The comparison couldn’t be more stark.

In a burst of magnanimity, the government has loosened its purse strings to host the next month’s mega convention. No effort is being spared to showcase the happening city in the best possible way. But the visiting dignitaries only need to go into the interior areas to see the real Hyderabad – warts and all.

Isn’t it self-delusion to brush under the carpet the real issues in a bid to put the best foot forward? That’s what many feel. A few hundred crores is being spent to spruce up the city for the sake of the visiting delegates while with a fraction of that amount the condition of those who dwell here permanently can be ameliorated.

The GHMC juggernaut is on a roll. It is replacing the tiles on the pavements even where they are in good condition. Model footpaths are being developed on key roads while pedestrians have no footpaths to walk on in many areas. To provide hassle free journey to the foreign delegates alternative routes are being developed. But no such luxury for the common man – he has to sweat it out in the traffic bottleneck for hours.

Lawns in traffic islands and road medians are getting fresh green carpets when many residential areas are deprived of green cover. “It is such a waste of money. What ought to be done is to check the drain overflows and water stagnation on roads”, says Omim Maneckshaw Debara, general secretary, Forum for a Better Hyderabad.

A plethora of problems greet one in new colonies skirting the city and the slums. Collecting a pail of water is still a struggle in Bandlaguda and Shaheen Nagar close to the Rajiv Gandhi Airport. A ride on the Shalibanda road or the Gaganmhal-Indira Park stretch guarantees a bone shattering experience.

“There ought to be balanced development – not just in a part of the city”, says M.A. Qaiyum, noted archaeologist.

Spending of money, many feel, should be on creation of permanent infrastructure not for mere cosmetic change. “Long after the biodiversity conference is over the citizens should benefit from the development”, remarks Anuradha Reddy, convenor, INTACH Hyderabad chapter.

Keywords: GHMCCoP-11

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