4 years, no relief: Red tape, inefficiency choke Hyd bridge projects, leaving roads in a mess

Residents of Hyderabad's Malkajgiri and Safilguda suffer as the two road under bridges promised in 2013 are yet to take off.
4 years, no relief: Red tape, inefficiency choke Hyd bridge projects, leaving roads in a mess
4 years, no relief: Red tape, inefficiency choke Hyd bridge projects, leaving roads in a mess
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"It's been like this for years now. We have become immune to the construction work and all the digging," says Prabhakar Reddy, as he points to a large pool of stagnant water in front of his house in Secunderabad's Anand Bagh area.

"They keep digging the road and filling it up. There is constant dust in the air, and I have to park my vehicle away from the house every night and walk home, because the road is too narrow now," he adds.

It's been four years since it was announced that the traffic woes of residents around Malkajgiri and Safilguda would end soon, as two road under bridges (RuBs) were being planned at East Anandbagh and Uttam Nagar.

It was a long pending demand by the locals as Safilguda and Malkajgiri had expanded rapidly in the '90s, becoming two of the most populated suburbs of the city.

This had resulted in traffic snarls as railway tracks ran through the suburbs at several points, and the gates had to be closed for ten to fifteen minutes, each time a train was passing through. 

The project was originally undertaken by three departments - the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department and the South Central Railway (SCR).

"Survey and structural valuation (to acquire properties) have already begun...The bridges will be completed within 24 months after commencement of the work," an official from the R&B had said at the time. 

However, the promise made in 2013 is yet to be fulfilled as the RuBs are far from complete. 

When TNM visited the site of the RuB at East Anand Bagh on Saturday, there were no workers around.

The entire road has been cordoned off for more than 3 years now, and not much work has been done, when compared to an earlier visit in November. 

"They have not been working frequently because of the rains, but they still found the time to dig up the road and leave it in this state," Arvind, a resident, says sarcastically. 

"This is how the road looks after they did some quick patchwork before the rains, so that it doesn't cave-in. Imagine our plight before that," he adds.

The alternate road at East Anand Bagh, which is a narrow dusty by-lane, now sees autos and cars trying to squeeze through. 

Heavy vehicles like trucks and buses have to take a detour of more than 4 to 5km, for what once used to be a distance of 1 km.

"It was better before. The traffic has become much worse, but there's no end in sight for the construction work. All this dust is also affecting my lungs, as I park my vehicle here," says Naresh, an auto driver.  

As far as the RuB in Uttam Nagar is concerned, the work has progressed and the road is beginning to take shape.

However, the area is still barricaded, and an entire stretch of around 1 km has been dug up.

"Every time it rains, the water stagnates and the soil becomes all muddy like this. It is an accident waiting to happen. I don't even let my son cross the road unless I accompany him, because I fear that he may slip and fall into one of the pits or on the road," says Vinay, a techie who lives nearby.

The locals also add that the stagnant water emits a foul smell, and is a breeding ground for diseases.

Why the delay?

Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister, K T Rama Rao visited the Malkajgiri Circle this week, to inaugurate the Sainikpuri Reservoir, that promises to provide drinking water.

Addressing the issue of bad roads and leaking pipes, the Minister said, "Things cannot be rectified overnight. I assure you the Chief Minister is seized of the situation. Give us some time and we will sort things out. "

According to sources, the Minister had brought up the topic of the two RuBs with concerned officials and learnt that the the three departments responsible for the work were still figuring out who should bear the expenditure -- something that should have been decided, before the work started.

According to B T Srinivasan, General Secretary of the United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations, Malkajgiri, both RuBs were delayed for different reasons.

"The RuB at Anand Bagh was supposed to be completed long ago, but local residents and establishments like shops and stalls, had moved the court for a stay order. That was because the authorities had finalised tenders and made public a plan that would leave them with no space in front of their homes," Srinivasan says.

"This would have caused several problems to them, which is why they stalled it. As far as I know, the citizens have been ready to negotiate with the R&B department, and work out an amicable solution" he adds.

As far the RuB at Uttam Nagar is concerned, Srinivasan says that there was a lack of coordination between the GHMC and the SCR, with each pointing fingers at the other for the delay in the project. 

"They had to shift several things like electric poles and water pipes, which is finally happening now. The viaducts have also been completed, and it might take another 4 months for the work to be completed if they do it continuously," Srinivasan says.

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