Hyderabad: Work on the development of the Musi riverfront has been put on hold for a year now. The last time there was any activity was in June last year when, following a High Court direction, the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation (MRDC), in a kneejerk reflex, announced a design competition.
An MRDC official now says that they have identified 1,200 encroachments and that a social impact survey will be conducted prior to their demolition. Officials have claimed that the project will not see the light of day for at least four months.
The election code of conduct gives officials additional cover.
In June last year, the government invited agencies to participate in a design contest for urban landscaping and riverfront development. Officials neither finalised the designs nor put them in the public domain.
The MRDC has proposed to take up the project in two phases. Under Phase-I, that was scheduled to be completed by the end of March, up to 5 km between Puranapul and Chaderghat was to be beautified.
Phase-II comprises a Musi corridor with east-west connectivity in the form of a skyway.
Additionally, river conservation and beautification from the outfall of Himayatsagar and Osmansagar on the west to the ORR at Gowrelli on the east, measuring 57.5 km, is part of the project. This work is expected to take two-and-a-half years.
The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has been commissioned to undertake the diversion of 42 channels through which sewage enters the river. It has also been entrusted with the job of setting up a comprehensive sewage treatment plant.
The government has allocated Rs 377.35 crore for the MRDC, against the total cost of Rs 1,665 crore. Sources said the funds had not been released.
The High Court on August 21 last year had said the MRDC which was meant for the revival of the Musi river was not acting in accordance with its principles. The court said, "In fact, with the construction of pathways on its sides in the name of beautification, the river is actually beginning to shrink. Stents do not work if the veins leading to the heart are blocked by cholesterol and the heart needs bypass surgery."
The court asked the MRDC to confirm the number of encroachments. Following this, the MRDC finally verified revenue records and identified 56 encroachments in Medchal district, 275 in Ranga Reddy district and 738 in Hyderabad district.
An MRDC official said that the corporation would conduct a social impact assessment and submit it to the government prior to taking up a drive to demolish the encroachments. When asked about the status of the Musi beatification project, he said that the ball was in the government's court and it had to take a decision now....