Hyderabad: As and when the lockdown ends, people in Hyderabad will be pleasantly surprised to see newly-laid or re-carpeted roads and new flyovers or significant progress in their construction.
The municipal authorities in the Telangana capital are making most of the coronavirus induced lockdown period to complete the construction of roads and flyovers or repair and re-carpet damaged stretches and lay the water and sewerage pipelines.
Works in various parts of the city are in full swing to make use of lack of traffic. Dozens of workers can be seen working on roads and flyovers, especially in the information technology hubs of HITEC City and Gachibowli and areas like Sheikhpet, Kukatpally, Balanagar, Santoshnagar and Secunderabad.
Immediately after lockdown came into effect, Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao sensed an opportunity to speed up and complete the pending road and flyover works including some key components of the prestigious Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) which aimed at decongesting the city.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) along with the other executing agencies swung into action. As the construction labourers, many of them migrants, are staying in temporary sheds provided at different places, the contracting firms were told to use their services while ensuring that all norms of lockdown including social distancing are followed.
The municipal authorities have made good use of nearly 25 days of lockdown period so far to execute works including redesigning and repair in key stretches, considered as bottlenecks in free flow of vehicular movement, especially in and around IT clusters.
A municipal official said their attempts to complete these works before pre-lockdown were hampered by the continuous plying of vehicles and even diversion of traffic at few points was of not much help. “With strict enforcement of lockdown in the city, there are hardly any vehicles plying during day time while the roads are totally deserted during night hours. We feel this is the best time to complete certain works which otherwise are difficult to be executed due to high volume of traffic,” the official said.
With the lockdown further extended to May 3, the GHMC is using the machines and manpower round-the-clock to ensure completion of as many works as possible.
Minister Rama Rao, who also holds the portfolios of urban development, industry and information technology, is personally monitoring the progress of the works.
A couple of days ago, he inspected the ongoing works of Balanagar flyover being constructed as a part of the Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP) and asked the officials to utilise the lockdown period to complete the works in a hassle-free manner.
“We have been utilizing the lockdown period to expedite all roads in Hyderabad,” said KTR, as the minister is popularly known.
KTR, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, also inspected the ongoing road expansion works at Nagarjuna circle at Panjagutta in the heart of the city.
The work was taken up on priority as municipal officials identified it as the key bottleneck in movement of vehicular traffic, especially during peak hours.
KTR has been holding meetings with officials to review the progress of the works taken up on war footing.
As part of Rs 23,000 crore SRDP, the government plans to develop 54 junctions, 111 km elevated corridors/skyways and underpasses. Under the first two phases, works worth Rs 5,335 crore were taken up. The authorities have already executed works including three underpasses and five flyovers at a cost of Rs 2,982 crore in the first phase. The works under the second phase are currently being executed.
Actively involved in the monitoring of works are top officials including Principal Secretary. Urban Development Arvind Kumar, GHMC Commissioner Somesh Kumar and Greater Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan.
GHMC is also focusing on works in the old city which comes under Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency represented by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
KTR last week held a meeting with Owaisi in the presence of senior officials to review the development works in his constituency.
Arvind Kumar himself inspected ongoing roads and flyover works at Owaisi Junction, Chandrayanagutta, Aramghar and Bahadurpura.
While works in most of the places are progressing in a smooth manner as it did not require authorities to acquire private properties, the work on Amberpet flyover work in Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency represented by Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy triggered a row.
Some residents of Amberpet complained that GHMC officials asked them to vacate their premises by April 30. They have refused to hand over their properties during the lockdown. They are also seeking payment of full compensation.
The flyover is to be built by the National Highways as part of the elevated corridor between Amberpet and Ramanthapu, a part of Hyderabad-Warangal highway.