Charminar Pedestrianisation Project yet to see light of the day

Minister K. Taraka Rama Rao inspecting developmental works in the old city on Friday.Photo: G. Ramakrishna  

“The Charminar Pedestrianisation Project will be completed within six months time. We will create an eco-friendly tourism destination here,” said K.T. Rama Rao, MA&UD Minister of Telangana standing on the footsteps of Charminar after walking on the roads radiating from the monument on Friday afternoon.

“We will launch battery operated autos to ease the transport here and reduce pollution levels. I know there is lot of opposition, but we will take along everyone. We will meet and sort out all the issues of all the stakeholders,” promised Mr. Rama Rao.

But taking a break from the past, he also spoke about mounting a conservation effort for the four arches known as Char Kaman around the Gulzar Houz which have been encroached upon and are in a serious state of disrepair with GHMC garbage bins in front of each of them.

Later, Mr. Rama Rao met a host of local leaders and also spoke with the bangle traders of Laad Bazaar to gauge the mood of the businessmen, many of whom have shop fronts almost on the road.

The Minister said that Rs. 35 crore has been allocated for the project and more money would be pumped into complete the project on priority basis. “There is a serious shortage of toilets, parking and other tourist amenities and we will create them in a phased manner,” he said, while announcing the moving of south zone office to Chandrayangutta area from Sardar Mahal which will be transformed into a tourist lounge with food courts and other amenities.

Even as the Minister was speaking, petty vendors of sunglasses and plastic bead chains tried to hustle tourists before police shooed them away. “You fellows cannot wait for even one hour on one odd day,” shouted one of the cops with whistle, showing the kind of challenge the project is up against.

Interestingly, speaking in the Assembly last month, the Minister had promised completion of the project if ‘absolute cooperation’ is available from all concerned when one of the legislators asked about the delay in the project.

Incidentally, the Charminar Pedestrianisation project was first floated in 2000 at a cost of Rs. 139 crore, but a few religious structures, electricity substations, and politicians have stymied the project. In 2010, the cost had escalated to Rs 479.86 crore when it was inaugurated by Asaduddin Owaisi of MIM. Till now, only a fragment of the work is over with visible change only on the road towards Sardar Mahal which is not encroached on by businessmen or thronged by touts and petty vendors.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 2:31:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/charminar-pedestrianisation-project-yet-to-see-light-of-the-day/article8425148.ece

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