VIPs residing in posh areas like Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Shaikpet and Venkateshwara Colony have been allegedly objecting to nala desilting. (DC Image/Gandhi)
HYDERABAD: Lack of social ethics and basic understanding of drainage upkeep, coupled with scant regard for the civic rules among the so-called VIPs living in the upscale colonies in the city seem to have pushed the municipal administration in a predicament over desilting of nalas, something imperative to prevent monsoon adversities.
Though the municipal administration and urban development minister K.T. Rama Rao directed officials to take up the annual desilting of nalas on priority prior to the monsoon to prevent the city from urban flooding, VIPs residing in posh areas like Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Shaikpet and Venkateshwara Colony have been allegedly objecting to it. Only in these VIP areas, as many as 71 works out of 352 works have been pending. Despite inviting tenders three to eight times by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the contractors are not willing to take up works, claiming that the residents are objecting to it.
Officials said after desilting, the silt would be deposited on the wayside for drying. Only after drying the silt, contractors would cart it and the payments would be made.
Authorities said the residents were objecting to the desilting since their premises would wear a shoddy look. They said even if the nalas were not desilted, the residents in the area would not face much problems as they were residing in the upstream area of the city. During monsoon or on heavy rains, only low-lying areas would be completely submerged. "We tried to convince the residents to co-operate but our efforts went in vain. Though bureaucrats and influential people including city Mayor Gadwal R. Vijaylakshmi reside in the area, none is co-operating for the vital annual nala desilting," said a GHMC official, requesting anonymity.
Despite introducing annual nala desilting from the 2019-20 financial year, the corporation managed to desilt a mere 40 per cent of works. As the silt has been choking free flow of water in nalas, the corporation decided to desilt nalas for 365 days. Interestingly, the corporation, which managed to desilt 55.87 per cent of nalas in two months during 2017 desilted only 20.12 per cent of nalas during the 2021-22. The nala desilting which is aimed at minimising the inundation during monsoon did not serve its purpose even after introducing annual nala desilting.
When asked about the same, GHMC authorities said desilting alone would not prevent urban flooding. Officials said it was only aimed at keeping the drains clear for smooth water flow. A senior official said the residents in prime localities were not even cooperating with the conventional silting claiming that the areas would look shoddy apart from stench emanating from it when the silt was dry. He said nala widening in the core city would be an uphill task and it could not be done if there was a strong political will. The official informed that out of 352 works, tenders had been finalised for 281 works and for the remaining works, the state government's intervention was needed. Asked about the status of nala widening under Strategic Nala Development Plan (SNDP), the official refused to comment.