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Vehicle free Charminar zone remains a pipedream

Vehicle free Charminar zone remains a pipedream
Highlights

If push comes to shove, the acquisition of the last four religious structures that are to be acquired may have to be left alone to complete the project,’ said an exasperated official of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Thursday. That in a nutshell sums up the mood of the officials about the ambitiously-conceptualised Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP). After battling with owners of shops and other private properties,

After one-and-a-half decades, the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project that was conceived to turn the whole area around the historic monument a vehicle-free zone is still plagued with issues and is moving at snail’s pace

If push comes to shove, the acquisition of the last four religious structures that are to be acquired may have to be left alone to complete the project,’ said an exasperated official of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Thursday. That in a nutshell sums up the mood of the officials about the ambitiously-conceptualised Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP). After battling with owners of shops and other private properties, there is about 10 per cent of land still to be acquired for the project.

Not budging an inch are management committees of four religious properties-- Masjid-E-Dadamiyan, Masjid-E-Saleemunissa at Kali Kaman, Masjid-E-Mansoor Khan and Ashoorkhana Panjesha at Panjesha. Senior officials of the town planning wing of GHMC opine that acquisition of religious structures is a sensitive issue.

If the acquisition of private properties has become a bottleneck, multiple owners in a single building are causing headache for the authorities. For instance, Jyothi building has 18 owners. “But for four, all the remaining owners have come on board. We demolished eight shops in the four storied building and compensation has been paid,” Md Khalid Sarwar, City Planner, South Zone, GHMC.

Apart from cobbled streets, sign boards are major works that need to be done. K Srinivas Rao, additional chief city planner, CPP, says that about five per cent of properties are to be acquired in the inner and outer ring road. The authorities are also mulling with the idea of proposing a ban on vehicles in coordination with traffic police department for two months on a trial basis as this would give them a comprehensive understanding of issues and problems that might crop up later.

Parking woes

The pedestrianisation project is closely linked with parking space and there has been no headway in this aspect. The foundation at old pensioners’ office was laid by the previous government but there is no progress. Officials say that discussions to move the bus depot from Charminar to Falaknuma are underway.

Cobbled streets

The cobbled streets, an integral part of the project, are still not completed and have been done only in patches. The work towards Mecca Masjid and Lad Bazaar is yet to start and it is completed only on one side of Gulzar Houz to Charminar. Anil Dhunde, a resident of Moghulpura says, “With air and noise pollution reaching alarming levels it is not just Charminar but Mecca Masjid, Nizamia Hospital and other historic monuments that are in equal danger.

The pedestrianisation project is crucial for every citizen of Hyderabad. It is sad that the civic body is taking so long to complete the project.” Rs 2 crore for Lad Bazaar and Rs 3 crore for cobbled stone flooring around Charminar has been sanctioned but work is has not even commenced. Another Rs 50 lakh is sanctioned for sign boards for the shops. Officials say that works would begin within a month in these two stretches.

By:T P Venu

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