Hyderabad: The decade-old Musi riverfront development and beautification project has hardly seen any progress, though the Musi Riverfront Development Corporation (MRDC) was formed two years ago and Rs 1,665 crore earmarked for the project. Neither has it succeeded in diverting the effluent or in removing encroachments on the banks of the river.
In April last year, the MRDC conducted a competition and invited international firms to submit their designs for the beautification and development of the Musi and some firms were even shortlisted. Since then the project has been in the deep freeze despite High Court directions to get moving.
MRDC officials say the government has asked them not to go ahead with the project until instructed to do so. Two-and-a-half years have passed, and the corporation has been paying MSRDC officials salaries amounting to Rs 3.15 crore annually. Some Rs 754 crore has even been allocated in the budget for the project but results have been nil.
MRDC was constituted on March 25, 2017, after repeated complaints of pollution by residents living alongside the Musi. The project was first conceived in 2006 but successive governments have ignored it.
After the formation of Telangana state, the government had decided to give the Musi a “facelift” at an estimated cost of Rs 740 crore. The National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) was to fund 70 per cent of the project. However, due to an alleged fund crunch, that project has been gathering dust and its cost has escalated to Rs 1,665 crore.
The government then constituted the MRDC with the state government expected to contribute Rs 500 crore for the project, while the remaining amount will be raised from banks and other financial institutions. The beautification project conceived in December 2017 has been in a coma for the past two years. Sources said the government claims it is running out of funds and does not want to remove about 12,000 encroachments prior to the forthcoming civic elections. A survey of the encroachment to be removed was carried out, but requires the government’s permission. The shortlisted designs have been gathering dust and MRDC officials refuse to comment on the issue.