Is Badi Chowdi part of Sultan Bazar? Or does Sultan Bazar begin after Badi Chowdi ends? These are the perplexing questions metro rail officials have to grapple with before they think of changing the alignment away from Sultan Bazar as per Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s directions.
While the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) engineers are preparing a blueprint — to be presented to the Chief Minister — showing a clear diversion “by a few metres” away from Sultan Bazar towards the Tilak Park side and clear the main road onto the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS), agitating traders of the area are not convinced.
“As far as we are concerned, Sultan Bazar starts from the Veer Savarkar statue (Kacheguda crossroads) and ends at Andhra Bank in Koti. There are a couple of temples and a mosque even if the alignment changes on Badi Chowdi. At least 300 traders will be affected,” argues Govind Rathi, chairman, Traders Joint Action Committee, Sultan Bazar.
Instead, Mr. Rathi and his group suggest the alignment to be diverted at Kacheguda crossroads, either towards the railway station or towards Ramkoti, Tilak Road, Abids and M.J. Market. There are also traders having a contrary view.
“Badi Chowdi is from Veer Savarkar statue till Bata crossroads, after that it is Sultan Bazar. Will this project halt if we protest for a small section? It has been conceived by experts to benefit the entire city,” avers A. Venugopal, trader. “People got emotionally prepared to make way for metro rail for the sake of development. Property owners are ready as there are low rentals and resultant court cases over decades,” claims D. Prakash, another businessman.
“It’s better to spend the extra cost of any alignment change on providing good relief and rehabilitation measures to the affected tenants and hawkers,” chips in K. Nagesh, trader. Metro corridor two (Jubilee Bus Station-Falaknuma), originally, is supposed to pass through the crossroads onto Badi Chowdi, Sultan Bazar, Puthlibowli and onwards to MGBS.
Metro engineers insist that the alignment changes proposed after Badi Chowdi will be “minimal” and since piers are yet to be laid on the road, extra cost can be contained.
21 piers to be removed HMR has also proposed to remove the already built 21 piers on the Lakidikapul road to avoid the Legislative Assembly building. The viaduct will be curved into the DGP offices, take it parallel to the existing Indian Railways lines by demolishing existing police quarters, bring it back onto the Public Gardens through the Telugu University gate.
Alignment changes, even if ‘minor’ is expected to cost more than Rs.200 crore, which has to be borne by the State government. But, first the Chief Minister has to approve and only then L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad will come into the picture to prepare its own construction schedule, add metro rail officials, unwilling to be quoted.