Cityscape The erstwhile desolate stretch between Hi-Tech City and Kukatpally is now a coveted zone for new malls and multiplexes, finds Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

There are a few factors by which a Hyderabadi knows his locality has come of age — essentials such as hospitals, schools and colleges and recreational facilities in the form of avenues for food, cinema and shopping. The localities in Kukatpally closer to Hi-Tech City have their share of educational institutions and hospitals, both old and new. Now, the road connecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University to Cyber Towers is witnessing a spurt in township projects, malls and multiplexes.

“A decade ago, when the Malaysian Township came up, residents had to travel via Miyapur and Kondapur to reach their work places in Madhapur. It was a dead-end at the Township, with just an underpass. Only after the route was opened up, we have witnessed development,” says Doraraju, who owns a sweetshop in the area.

Two new malls by Manjeera group have opened their doors to visitors, one that has a clutch of electronics and garment stores and another that houses Hypercity and the yet-to-be-opened Cinepolis multiplex. Further down the road is a Reliance mall and the under-construction Sujana Forum. The latter that’s coming up in partnership with Bangalore-based Prestige group, will have a shopping mall, a multiplex, service apartments and offices.

All this has, in recent times, led to a substantial increase in rentals for commercial spaces. Small stores and eateries that used to pay a few thousands rue about having to pay almost a lakh of rupees towards monthly rent. It’s no wonder that some owners of MIG (middle income group) houses have made way for commercial development.

Commuting made easy

The development in this area has taken its time. The new flyover that connects Madhapur to Kukatpally has helped solve woes of commuters to a large extent. Software engineer Anil Singhal who moved into a township in the locality in 2007, recollects having to drive through the underpass to reach Madhapur. “Motorists had a harrowing time during monsoons, with three to four feet water stagnating after heavy downpours. To begin with there was one underpass and a few years later, another one was thrown open to vehicles,” he says. During off-peak hours, the drive from the Sujana Forum junction to Madhapur now takes 10 to 15 minutes. During morning and evening rush hours, it’s a story of slow-moving, bumper-to-bumper traffic. “Vehicles coming from Malaysian and Indu townships, in addition to those from smaller lanes all over Miyapur and Nizampet converge in this area,” adds Singhal.

The Kukatpally-Madhapur route is a region in transition. In the smaller lanes adjacent to the plush townships, old houses of Kukatpally Housing Board (KPHB) and kirana stores appear weathered, with no traces of sophistication. Then, there are newer middle-class apartment complexes that have become home to a number of young working professionals. The curry points, tiffin centres and Udupi restaurants get their clientele from these colonies. Fine-dining restaurants are yet to make an entry in this area.

The old world meeting the new is also evident at the Rhythu Bazaar near the Manjeera mall. There is a happy co-existence, as of now, as both the market and the mall are happy to draw in customers. “We opened this store in March this year. We have a number of customers coming in from Nizampet, Miyapur and the townships nearby,” says Hameed, an employee of an electronic store.