Following the collapse of a portion of the facade of the southwest minaret of Charminar, corporation officials have been in dilemma over the installation of bollards within the first 50 feet.
Hyderabad: Ducting work, worth around Rs 35 lakh, is posing a threat to the progress of the Rs 35 crore Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP). Ever since the inception of the project, all departments, including the electricity department, have been reluctant to take up the ducting work.
For operational hydraulic bollards, special lighting and other beautification works, the electricity department has to take up the ducting work, which is estimated to cost around Rs 35 lakh.
The department had previously refused to spend its own money on the work. And while the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials in consultation with the state government had assured that they would bear the expenditure for underground ducting, lighting, and other works, they now claim that the electricity department is not ready to take up the ducting work.
Without ducting, shifting drinking water pipelines is not possible. Officials stressed that without co-operation in this regard, the CPP won’t move an inch forward.
According to highly-placed sources in the corporation, the civic body has been receiving lukewarm response from all line departments other than the traffic police. The decade-old project has been suffering delays due to various inter-departmental issues like fund crunch, transfer of officials, and resistance from hawkers, shop owners, and politicians.
Despite encountering all the aforestated concerns, the corporation has managed to make decent progress since the formation of Telangana state. It has completed the pavement work using granite and cobblestones at a cost of Rs `crore, convinced hawkers to move to a different location, and started installing bollards. In order to construct hydraulic bollards, it requires a power source.
As the per the plan, electric cables have to be shifted to the underground duct from where electricity will be provided for special lighting in the vicinity of the iconic structure. Additionally, the corporation recently decided to set up special LED lighting at the Charminar in a manner that it is visible from the Falaknuma Palace — essentially to attract tourists.
The electricity department, which seems to have disowned the project, had previously asked the corporation to pay Rs 35 lakh for the underground ducting work. The corporation after discussing the issue in various review meetings decided to fund the ducting work. Although a year has passed, the electricity department has not taken up the work despite several reminders.
A senior GHMC official said that the corporation had completed over 40 per cent of the CPP. He said that if the underground ducting work was completed and drinking water pipelines shifted, the project will see 80 per cent progress since only minor works like facade development, special lighting, and uniform sign boards will be pending thereafter.
An official said that the corporation has spent over Rs 10 crore on the project and its progress is on hold because of the electricity department.
“If on ground cables are shifted underground, it will ease the burden off the traffic police, who have been battling to regulate traffic in the 50-metre radius for a year now. Furthermore, once the ducting work is completed, the construction of the bridge at Salar Jung museum will be the only part pending of the project. The issue will once again be taken to the notice of state government.”
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