Hyderabad: Traffic congestion near the Aliabad Sarai in Old City could soon be a thing of the past. That stretch of road will be widened by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Hyderabad Traffic Police. Mohd Tajuddin Ahmed, the additional deputy commissioner of police (traffic), says that the width of the road has been reduced by hawkers and shop-keepers who have built ramps, railings and walls. “The narrowing down of the road is resulting in traffic jams,” he says.
He says that if the encroachments are cleared, the width of the road will increase by quite a few feet. “Two-wheelers will easily be able to pass through the widened space. The parking of two-wheelers on that stretch of road will be totally banned and alternative parking spaces will be earmarked,” he says.
The traffic police have asked the GHMC to explore the possibility of widening the road, but a few problems plague that stretch. Almas Mosque is located at the northern end of the Sarai, and there is a temple at the southern end. On the opposite side, there are small dargahs at both the ends and a graveyard right opposite Almas Mosque. Save for this 200-metre stretch, the arterial road from Charminar to Chandrayangutta has been widened along its entire length over the years. “It is a very sensitive issue; until we work out some solutions, we are encouraging people to use alternative routes during rush hours,” says Mr Tajuddin.
At present, the width of the road at Aliabad is between 30 and 40 feet, and it has been proposed that it be widened to 100 feet. The Aliabad Sarai is listed as a grade I heritage structure. In the Qutb Shahi era, it served as a resting place for weary travellers arriving at Hyderabad. Until 1955, the Aliabad Darwaza was also stood here. Now, some of the rooms have been converted into commercial premises; about 80 shops function out of the rundown Sarai. When road widening works are taken up, it will ensure that the historical structure is not damaged in any way.