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HMDA Draft Master Plan 2031 will affect rural livelihoods

    Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy
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Primarily, landless families and small land holders would be hit as urbanisation spreads, induced by master plan

Extension of Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and thus urbanisation, will have negative impact on rural livelihoods, including handloom, farming, cattle rearing, vegetable and flower production and many other professions. Displacement, of all types, is a huge possibility.

HMDA Draft Master Plan 2031 negatively impacts the existing livelihoods of more than five lakh families in more than 800 villages in 35 mandals spread across four districts. It will also have long term impact on natural resources and livelihoods-based on such natural resources in five districts surrounding Hyderabad.

Primarily, landless families and small landholders would be alienated from their livelihoods, as urbanisation spreads, induced by HMDA Master Plan. Handloom weavers in Nalgonda district, in various villages, with Pochampally as nerve centre, are likely to be affected severely.

The complete document of Draft Metropolitan Development Plan (DMDP)-2031 and other relevant documents are in English and till date have not been completely translated into Telugu.

This prevents the vast majority of people living in the extended areas to understand the proposals and participate in the process meaningfully.

Existing land use map is not available on display/website/CDs which is a contravention of the provisions of law.

The plan also does not include maps depicting current land use and the development plan has been prepared without any investment plan.

Maps have been put up in five locations only making it difficult for people to access them. Few consultations have been organised and the locations for these meetings were not at all convenient for attendance for a vast majority.

Simplest example for a gross mistake is the total land allotted in residential use category – 764 sq.km., while the land required as per guidelines of Government of India (UDFPI Guidelines) at population density of 150 persons/hectare is only 313 sq.km., for the projected population of 47 lakhs by the year 2031.

This will facilitate only horizontal growth of development, spreading out and will cause multiple problems including rise in per unit cost of infrastructure. Civic amenities like water supply, sewerage lines, public transport etc., have to be created for areas with very low population density making the process very expensive and uneconomical for utilities.

The proposed regional ring road seems to be a very ambitious plan. Outer ring road closer to the city has not yet been completed. The proposed development along it is a long time away from happening.

As per HMDA estimates on population projection, the population in ORR Growth Corridor (ORRGC) will be only 6 lakh approximately in 2031. If this is the case right now, we suspect the regional ring road will have very little utility value within the timeframe proposed.

The land acquisition for this mega road will be in the range of a minimum of 3,240 acres and a maximum of 4,320 acres. Most of the lands surrounding the road are under private ownership and the acquisition will hurt them badly.

There are serious gaps between data shown on the maps versus reality on the ground. Many Zilla Parishad Roads have not been marked and are not shown in the plan. Many places with institutional areas like colleges have not been marked at all in the map, making the integrity of the Plan itself very questionable.

The current plan has mentioned about planning for future needs in terms of basic amenities like drinking water, sanitation, education, electricity, health infrastructure, transportation etc. But several issues are missing in the plan such as transportation dedicated transit hubs, parking centres in 13 urban nodes and sources for augmentation of water.

Solid Waste Projected waste generation is 13,552 tonnes per day by the year 2031. The plan has glossed over this very critical aspect affecting public health with very minor details. Waste Management strategies have been completely neglected. Only one sanitary land fill (Malkapur) has been identified for the whole region which is against principles of planning itself.

This Plan does not have information on the current livelihood scenario in more than 800 villages, it tries to acquire under its fold. Given that this is a growth and development plan, it is shocking to find that there is no mention of livelihoods of more than 8 lakh population, belonging to farming, dairy farming, freshwater fisheries, sheep and goat rearing, handloom weaving and various other critical avocations.

It has no consideration for the existing population, while the whole effort seems to integrate new geography into the Hyderabad growth conundrum. Large tracts of agricultural land, under trees, crops and vegetation, have been marked for different zones, indicating a plan to convert agricultural land into non-agricultural, unproductive purposes. At a time of concerns over food production, this Plan proposes conversion of more than 5 lakh acres into other purposes than food production.

World famous Pochampally handlooms, or Ikkat, or tie and dye handloom fashions, in Nalgonda district are under threat. An expanding urban agglomeration is likely to swamp into villages that weave and eke out living out of hand-made textiles.

This plan has missed taking basic urban planning principles and precautions into consideration making it very shallow and weak. It fails to clarify on many aspects before the citizens, especially about the sources or where the infrastructure would come up. By doing away with legally mandated investment plan, it fails to give clarity on how the proposed infrastructure would be financed and in what stages.

Dr. D. Narasimha Reddy,

Chief Mentor,

Chetana Society.

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