Hyderabad: Hyderabad has 9,000 km of roads. Experts believe the length of the sidewalks or footpaths should be almost twice that of the road length. However, as there are only 900 km of sidewalks, harried pedestrians are compelled to use the road alongside moving vehicles, putting their lives in danger.
The nodal agencies, including the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the Hyderabad Road Development Corporation (HRDCL), and the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), have laid about 84 km of footpath over the course of seven years, as opposed to the 1,100 km that had been proposed two years ago.
The project was abandoned midway because the government decided to work with private agencies as part of the Comprehensive Road Maintenance Project (CRMP) to maintain the city's pavements.
Experts stated that little has been done to improve the facilities for pedestrians, except from token gestures such as encroachment drives. The footpaths are often used by schoolchildren, students, or the elderly who want to stroll a short distance. They noted that the majority of roads in the city lack designated sidewalks.
As a result, most footpaths are out of reach for pedestrians, and using them can be perilous or even fatal. Often, people find it extremely difficult to walk safely because practically every pavement has been encroached into on both sides of the majority of the roadways. The GHMC itself has planted saplings, allowed public and private toilets, and other departments have built transformers, water kiosks, and other amenities on top of the pavement.
The GHMC officials had received a strong warning from the High Court last year about the consequences of failing to comply with its orders regarding the removal of encroachments on city walkways. The GHMC had, however, failed to clear encroachments.
The GHMC increased the road length from 452 km in 2014 to 816 km in 2021. It was given the mandate to construct 10 km of footpath in each zone by minister K.T. Rama Rao in 2020, according to officials. Sixtynine new footpath works were sanctioned costing Rs 32.75 crore with a length of 75.64 km. Out of this, 60 works costing Rs 26.81 crore for 62.08 km are completed and the remaining nine works costing Rs 5.94 crore are at the various stages of execution.
As part of CRMP, 6.55 km existing walkways have been renovated, and 60.94 km of new footpaths have been laid. In 2020-21, 487 projects were completed for a total estimated cost of Rs 80.53 crore, and 68 more projects with a cost of Rs 31.54 crore are in the planning stages. However, the corporation has so far been able to repair and maintain 84 km of footpaths so far.
Asked about the delay in laying footpaths and preventing them from encroachments, a senior GHMC official who requested anonymity told Deccan Chronicle that other line departments and other GHMC wings have not been working in tandem. The official stated that until and unless the government makes a definitive decision, city residents will be compelled to walk on the streets.
Walk away, no footpath
>>> 9,000 km
>>> 2,800 km
>>> 6,200 cement
>>> 6,600 km
Single lane roads
>>> 1,700 km
3-lane lane roads
(Barring single lane roads all the remaining categories should have 15,300 km of pavements on both sides)...