Problems galore for HMDA

Problems galore for HMDA

The coffers are empty, flagship projects are in a limbo and to make matters worse, no proposed new project is taking off as all proposals have been put on hold.

The coffers are empty, flagship projects are in a limbo and to make matters worse, no proposed new project is taking off as all proposals have been put on hold.

  • No full-time head for nearly two months
  • Ongoing projects stonewalled, new projects on hold
  • Move to take back land from ‘defaulters’ could backfire
  • Owners threaten legal action

That is the reality that stares at the face of what was an otherwise vibrant Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA). The resources are few and far in between and being rudderless for almost two months now the Authority looks like a sinking ship. It is a strange irony that it was only the other day that an acre of land fetched an astronomical Rs 14 crore. In contrast to the high, the recent auction failed to attract even a miniscule of decent bidders with the entire exercise ending in a damp squib!

HMDA has been working without a full time chief ever since the then Commissioner Neerabh Kumar Prasad was transferred to Andhra cadre. Special Chief Secretary K Pradeep Chandra, who has been given additional charge, has reportedly not been able to make adequate time for HMDA affairs, given the myriad departments that he is currently entrusted with. Officials maintain that he has not been briefed much about the status or progress of projects during the few times he visited the headquarters. Devoid of authority, all proposals have, consequently, been put on hold.

“You see projects such as Education Hub, Hyderabad Habitat Centre, Science City, Transit Oriented Development and Land Pooling were conceived when Congress was at the helm of affairs. We are trying to understand how the present government will view these,” an official said.

Meanwhile, some public-private partnership projects like Logistics Parks at Bata Singaram and Mangalapally and Inter-City Bus Terminal (ICBT) at Miyapur have completed the necessary formalities and are awaiting final clearance. Unfortunately, the absence of a full-time head is coming as a road-block and timeframe for the execution remains uncertain.

Mega auction

According to a senior HMDA official, plans are in place to auction 3,500 acres both to raise a projected Rs 6,500 crore in revenue and also give real estate a much needed boost.

“Although we do not expect to hit the jackpot like on the earlier occasion, we remain hopeful of true value given the win-win situation that prevails this time round,” he said.

However, of the 3,500 acres, at least a third are under various courts while nearly 800 acres is forest land, which implies that massive funds are required to make them usable. In the given circumstances, the cash-strapped HMDA remains clueless on going about ‘Operation fund generation.’

Of the remaining 1, 500 acres nearly 400 acres were sold in the previous auction under the agreement that the land can be taken back by the government if the bid winner fails to give shape to the industry for which the land was sought in the first place. The officials reportedly approached owners of such lands, who threatened legal recourse against any such forcible takeover moves.

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