‘Didn’t agree to road project’: Hyd residents allege GHMC tricked them

The local corporator’s husband, however, dismissed allegations that consent was not sought from residents and said those who received compensation were happy.
‘Didn’t agree to road project’: Hyd residents allege GHMC tricked them
‘Didn’t agree to road project’: Hyd residents allege GHMC tricked them
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"Why would anyone want to widen a road that hits a dead end?" asks 63-year-old Aisha Begum, a resident of Kanchanbagh ward, Hafez baba Nagar C-block. Aisha’s home is one of the 138 houses that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) earmarked for demotion as part of their Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP). Out of the 100 homes, only 38 have been demolished and compensation paid for. When Aisha was asked if her consent was sought for handing over her 72.8 square feet home over to the GHMC, she said "No".

But she alleged that several residents had been tricked into consenting to the project. "We had not agreed to the road widening but were asked to provide our documents, so we gave it to the local corporator and GHMC officials,” said Aisha. She and several other residents in turn received a copy of a letter stating that the residents have agreed to the road widening project.

The road where Aisha lives is called, Akbar Road, a narrow unpaved stretch that begins from the mouth of Balapur Road and becomes narrower finally reaching a dead end at the wall housing the DRDO research complex.

"We have through MP Asaduddin Owaisi sought to get the wall replaced by the Central government so that the road can be extended. When that happens a few more houses will have to get demolished," said Abdul Rahman Shah the self-appointed spokesperson and husband of corporator Reshma Fatima for Kanchanbagh.

Rahman dismisses the allegations that the consent of house owners was not sought. “They are happy with the compensation, we have videos where the people are happy to receive the compensation for the houses that have been demolished. Rest of the people have not received compensation as GHMC does not have the funds. Rs 4 crore was sanctioned for compensation but is being released only in parts," he added.

“They have written our names at the place of signature in the documents, but no one has signed it,” said Mohammad Ahmed, a bakery shop owner. He is willing to give up his property for the road widening project, provided he gets proper compensation. “For 1 square feet the government rate is just Rs 6000. They are giving us double, Rs 12,000, but that too is very low. In February the open market in this area stood at Rs 20, 000 but now it has gone up even more," he added.

Ahmed has been trying to identify a locality nearby where he can relocate his five-member family, but is finding the locality increasingly out of his budget, "I am trying to find a home close by but there is no way I can afford it. If I move farther away from this locality I will lose my business. The government is giving compensation at 2016 land rates when the project was decided, but the project started in 2018 shouldn't they be giving us compensation in today's land rates? "

The city master plan has 34 such roads that are part of the road widening project, GHMC will initiate demolition tenders only after the compensation money is paid for in full.

Despite TNM’s repeated efforts, GHMC officials refused to comment on the issue.

The copy will be updated when GHMC officials respond.

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