Aftermath of Hyderabad floods: Experts tell GHMC to keep up demolitions

GHMC has the power to demolish encroachments; demand to demolish all buildings on lake beds.

Hyderabad: Water will continue to enter houses whenever there is heavy rain as the demolition of 28,872 illegal constructions and the subsequent widening of major nalas are easier said than done.

A former GHMC commissioner said: “It is a big challenge in a democracy. It will definitely take more time. It will require the cooperation of political parties, expertise of legal luminaries and a sustained campaign. Usually such demolition drives lose steam after the flood recedes. That was what happened after the floods in the year 2000.”

Urban development experts said there were other challenges. Technical expertise to widen the nalas was needed. And there was the social angle of the livelihood of the poor families.

GHMC commissioner B. Janardhan Reddy said they would work out plans to rehabilitate the poor in the nearly 25,000 vacant flats of JNNURM, Vambay and Indiramma Housing; the others would have to make their own arrangements.

“While GHMC should be supported, it should plan its drive carefully. The 25,000 flats of JNNURM and government projects are vacant because the beneficiaries did not want to go 20 km to 30 km away from the city. The demolition drive should not stop because people will stage dharnas. The drive to demolish buildings should be taken up with a proper plan and not in haste,” said secretary of Forum For Good Gover-nance M. Padmanabha Reddy.

The government had given permission for the layouts, buildings, and was supplying electricity and water to these houses. “Will demolition of illegal constructions on nalas solve the problem? What about those constructed on lake beds and downstream of water bodies which will continue to get inundated?

The GHMC should explore the possibility of laying underground bypass drains. In a democratically elected set-up, it will not be easy to pull down 28,000 structures in which 40,000 families are living,” said urban development expert Prof. G. Vasanth Kumar of Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Stu-dies, Osmania University.

Advocate S. Raghavender Goud told this newspaper that the GHMC had the powers to pull down all illegal buildings. “Even if the building falls in the lake buffer zone, leave alone full tank level area, the civic body has the power under GHMC Act to pull it down. It is only that a serious attempt is not made on the part of GHMC to vacate stay cases awarded against demolition of buildings by courts,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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