For any major civic infrastructure work to be taken up, be it repair or remodelling of storm water drains, key link roads or even the proposed rail or road over-bridges, the Municipal Corporation has to first ensure harmony between town planning and engineering wings for acquiring properties to ground the work
The lack of coordination with other public utility departments and the delay acquisition of land or properties continue to be the GHMC’s bugbears in completing several key projects.
For any major civic infrastructure work to be taken up, be it repair or remodelling of storm water drains, key link roads or even the proposed rail or road over-bridges, the Municipal Corporation has to first ensure harmony between town planning and engineering wings for acquiring properties to ground the work.
If that is easier said than done, the civic body has to goad departments like the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) and the Central Power Distribution Company Ltd (CPDCL) to shift underground or overground pipelines and power lines.
Projects in limbo
Projects worth more than Rs. 300 crore are stuck. For instance, while everyone is aware of the importance of remodelling storm water drains criss-crossing twin cities, the work has been painstakingly slow despite copious availability of funds.
Repairs were carried out on the primary storm water drains at Balkapur, Murki and Kukatpally along 13.9 km of the 16.9 km. Still, more than 200 encroachments remain to be removed.
And the money spent has been Rs. 87 crore out of the available Rs. 142 crore.
As regards the secondary drains at Yellareddyguda, Banjara Hills, Yousufguda, Kalasiguda, Nagamaiahkunta, Erramanzil, Dandu Mansion, Gandhinagar, Indira Park, Musheerabad and Picket, repairs have been carried out only along 2 km of the 21.7 km, according to R. Sreedhar, Superintending Engineer (Projects), GHMC.
Nearly Rs. 37 crore of the Rs. 127 crore has been spent, and more than 800 encroachments have to be removed. Other key projects stalled due to land acquisition and utilities shift are the long-pending link road from Necklace Road station to Fatehnagar/Balkampet because of the Indira Gandhi Puram slum where 136 properties have to be removed.
Over 100 properties have to be acquired along Inner Ring road - Gudimalkapur road and Noble Talkies - Mehdipatnam road, Moosapet road and Sanatnagar Goods Shed road.
Work on the Kandikal Gate RoB, too, has been tardy even as 18 of the 55 piers have been laid, thanks to a water pipeline shift and acquisition of properties.
“It’s not a priority matter either for our Planning wing or for the Water Board and the CPDCL.
“The coordination between top officials of civic departments has not percolated down the hierarchy. It is very tough to get lower officials of other departments to see our point of view even when we offer to do most of the work involved in the shifting of utilities,” say senior Municipal officials.
“Yes, land acquisition for various is getting delayed. The very process is laborious as we have to issue notices first, publish official gazette notifications, hold negotiations, decide and hand over compensation before conducting demolitions to give right of way for any project,” explains K. Dhananjaya Reddy, Additional Commissioner (Planning & Projects).
He adds: “It is always tough in a city to acquire when the land prices are so high. Not having a proper town survey land record is a big dampener because even private properties are listed under government ownership or vice-versa.”
The slew of court cases and shortage of town planning staff are also other major reasons, he avers. In fact, a government order disavowing tenders to be called before land acquisition is done being ignored simply because in an urban milieu keeping a site vacant is asking for trouble.
“It will be at least six months for the tender processes to be completed, and there is every chance of the site being encroached”, is the argument.