FOBs: local businessmen put their foot down

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CHAOS EVERYWHERE: Crossing the road at Ameerpet is risky and there is need for a foot overbridge. -- PHOTO: P. V. SIVAKUMAR
CHAOS EVERYWHERE: Crossing the road at Ameerpet is risky and there is need for a foot overbridge. -- PHOTO: P. V. SIVAKUMAR

V. Geetanath

Oppose structures saying their commercial interest is at stake

HYDERABAD: Having built five Foot Over Bridges in the last one year through the Build, Operate & Transfer (BOT) route, Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad is facing opposition from local shopkeepers and landowners from setting up more of these.

FOBs construction has come to a halt in at least three locations of Ameerpet, Abids and Madina with businessmen around strongly protesting against their erection as they felt it would "adversely affect their commercial interest"!

While structures at St. Ann's School in Secunderabad and another at NTR Gardens is nearing completion, six others - all cleared in the first phase of `Fund Your City' face an uncertain future.

Fear is also that FOBs would `totally overshadow' their shops and prevent customers from coming in as felt in Abids. Some businessmen at Ameerpet and even Rasoolpura had approached courts and as per its directions a three-member officials committee of traffic and transportation experts was formed to look into the issue.

The panel had endorsed that FOBs location was right. "There was much resistance from local businessmen even when Dilsukhnagar FOB was coming up. It has become very popular with 20,000 users a day when we were expecting 5,000 persons," says Additional Commissioner (Traffic & Transportation) N.V.S. Reddy.

He points out that FOBs had become acceptable for pedestrian safety because of "huge traffic volumes and absolute chaos on roads". FOBs at Secretariat and Secunderabad railway station location were changed on traffic police advice and metro rail plan, respectively.

Nampally FOB will come up at Haj House instead of opposite the station due to "heavy underground cables." With politicians joining hands with businessmen, Madina FOB is to be shifted. Ironically, there is demand for more FOBs in places like Somajiguda, Khairatabad, Toli Chowki, etc. despite this opposition.

Surveys are on to identify proper slots for 14 more FOBs cleared in last Fund Your City round. Since concerns were raised about the safety and security, the MCH has decided to allow couple of small kiosks on the sidewalk and ATMs below, as it was the only solution to provide security 24/7.

"This will also prevent beggars, street urchins and drunkards from occupying them. We want to try out kiosks at St. Ann's and NTR Marg FOBs," adds Mr. Reddy.



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