Hyderabad

Charminar Pedestrianisation Project getting closer to reality now

Racing against time: Workers laying paving stones in the immediate vicinity of Charminar on Thursday.  

It’s a race against time for workers who are paving stones in the immediate vicinity of Charminar as part of the pedestrianisation project. “We have been asked to finish as much work as possible by November 30 as there is a festival on December 1 (Milad un-Nabi). Then there will be heightened security for Black Day observance on December 5. For that break of a week, we will have to remove all the barricades and machinery and again put it back. Work will be affected,” said the contractor executing the project. Unlike the cobbled-stone walkways, the outer area of Charminar is being paved with finely dressed grey and red granite in an aesthetic pattern.

There is a new found urgency among officials after the announcement by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on transforming the Charminar precincts on the lines of the area near Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Conceived at an initial estimate of ₹139 crore, the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP) cost bloated to ₹479.86 crore in 2010. The work has been going on in fits and starts. In 2015-16, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) received only ₹1 crore for the project. In contrast, the Golden Temple precincts were conceived in December 2015 and has been completed right down to pushing utilities underground and creation of multi-level parking, a partition museum and a host of other facilities in the area which has been made vehicle-free.

Currently, three stretches near Charminar have cobbled stones laid. The stretch from Charminar to Gulzar Houz has been out of bounds for auto-rickshaws, while other vehicles are allowed to ply near the 425-year-old monument.

“Only the work on paving stones and cobbled stones is going on. We have been insisting on alternative facilities for parking as the only one currently available is near the Ayurvedic Hospital. Only if vehicles have parking space away from the monument, there will be true pedestrian path,” said J. Bhadreshwar, Traffic Police ACP.

One of the locations that has been considered for developing multi-level parking facility is the RTC bus stand near Shahalibanda area. Unless adequate parking facilities were created and there was a bar on movement of vehicles in the area, the pedestrianisation project would fail in its purpose of decongestion. One of the goals of the State government is to ensure that visitors spend more time in the area by creating facilities which are currently non-existent.

“The concrete slab and granite topping will be of the same height as the current one. We are tracking the vibrations caused by the pneumatic drill to ensure that they don’t harm the monument,” said an Archaeological Survey of India official at the site. The removal of asphalt topping has revealed an underground channel that used to be covered with manhole covers. “The drain channel is not an ancient one. We will not tamper with it,” said the ASI official.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2020 8:17:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/charminar-pedestrianisation-project-getting-closer-to-reality-now/article19970347.ece

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