Prized privacy goes for a toss as businesses spell big money in bylanes and small localities, writes SERISH NANISETTI
Riyaz Husain used to watch people with shaven heads wait outside Akkineni Nageswara Rao's house on Road No 1, Banjara Hills. The people were from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and after the ritual tonsure at Tirumala, it was the done thing to see the reigning superstar who would come out and wave from the balcony. Now, the house where ANR lived is ANR Centre, housing a telecom company, and a host of commercial establishments. What was once a predominantly residential area over a period of years has been transformed into the beating heart of Hyderabad's commercialism. The other residents have also moved on due to the intrusive commercial activities happening next door as also the lucrative deals realtors offered them in exchange for the prime property. As the one time provincial township morphs into a metropolis, a way of life is disappearing as is the privacy in some of the plushest locales in the city. As residents of Delhi and the Supreme Court grapple with the problem of commercial establishment in residential areas, it is an uneasy truce that people in the city have to live with.At the High Court's behest, the MCH did a survey of residential properties that are being used for commercial purposes. Not surprisingly, about 871 buildings were listed as violators.And if Ameerpet turns into a business destination can the roads that splay out of the main road remain unaffected? In an inner lane, in Srinivasa Colony wrapped around in banners of various computer courses, we find a supermarket, a hospital with vehicles parked on the pavement and a computer training institute where children loiter before their session of grind. "This used to be a quiet locale where everyone had nodding acquaintance with each other. The honking and rush of vehicles used to be in a different world," says B. Manjula who now hates the area as do her other family members. Their 500-yard plot is guarantee to privacy as people zip up and down in vehicles and both young and old cannot venture out without the fear of getting a scrape from a motorbike or an autorickshaw.Marredpally, the one time quaint quiet locale now has hospitals, schools, furniture showrooms and everything else that you might expect to find in a commercial locality. In an area where most of the mothers had an unwritten policy of returning the cricket ball, gully cricket is now out of question as businesses draw in people and vehicles by the hundreds.Another period, another time, Marri Chenna Reddy built his house in an area called Tarnaka, secure in the knowledge that this end of the city would retain its calm ambiance during his sunset years. Now, a mess jostles with a welding joint that is surrounded by a shop where you can buy sand, gravel and bricks.For people who live here, it is not business that affects them but the loss of privacy.