Staff Reporter

'Balkampet road-widening within a month'

There was good rapport between MCH, CPDCL and HMWSSB for widening work The Greenlands to St. Mary's Road will be taken up soonPreliminary digging work for the proposed four flyovers will start towards February-end

HYDERABAD: The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) is to continue its current frenetic work pace and is determined to ensure that the record setting road-widening work on Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills is not a one off thing.

Officials affirm that ongoing widening work on Balkampet too will be completed with similar resolve within a month and soon the Greenlands to St. Mary's Road will be taken up along with Khairatabad to Erragadda road.

MCH Commissioner Sanjay Jaju also said apart from soil testing, preliminary digging work and barricading for the proposed four flyovers would start towards February end. Piers too are most likely to be up before the prestigious Asian Development Bank meeting in May.

Monumental task

But, the 100 feet road in 100 days in the Hills has certainly earned many plaudits for the civic body. Anyway you look at it, this was a monumental task considering there were nearly 300 properties including the rich and famous to be 'disturbed' on the busiest roads up to 4.5 km.

"Initially, it looked unimaginable because parallel tasking had to be done like removing existing divider, talking to property owners, coordinating with water board, central power distribution company limited, finalising contractors, getting material ready, etc. We were determined to do a citizen friendly widening exercise," says Mr. Jaju.

He himself was on the roads every other day at times walking from Kavuri Hills to down accompanied by his Additional Commissioner for Planning & Projects, K. Dhananjaya Reddy, Chief City Planner K. Purushuttom Reddy and others, to get things moving.

"Most gratifying part was we were able to persuade and convince the property owners. Even the reluctant turned around once they noticed the work pace and increasing value for their respective properties," recalls Mr. Dhananjaya Reddy. Owners insisting land compensation too decided otherwise.

Land compensation would have cost nearly Rs. 70 crores and it would also take 45 days for acquiring property through land acquisition route using emergency clauses. Therefore, 'persuading' owners was the only option left for MCH.

The Raj Bhavan-Somajiguda road widening experience came in handy to avoid delays. For instance, even as 'negotiations' with owners was going on, estimates were prepared for different works and sanctions got ready. Re-building of compound walls, sumps and the likes was entrusted to different contractors to speed up.

Good rapport

Excellent rapport with CPDCL, Telephones and HMWSSB meant that change in poles, pipelines alignment did not get bogged down. In a rare show of coordinated action, the three departments shared men, machinery and material at key spots to get things moving.

It was not just cutting properties, building walls and laying roads though. "We wanted to do the road comprehensively by lay storm water drains wherever necessary and take up sidewalks reconstruction," points out Mr. Jaju.

Mr. Reddy also alludes to the fact that 150 modern lights were installed and 800-900 saplings of three to four meters height were planted on the sides besides laying acres of grass on the central median dividers during this time.

"It could have easily taken more than two years as it is all hard rock below but we managed to do it and also reduce the travel time by 20 per cent. We will keep up the pace other activities also," assures Mr. Jaju.

As the work was done for the Roads & Buildings Department, the MCH is now waiting for about Rs. 13 crores from the former for a job well done.