Hyderabad: A decade later, some work has been completed as part of the Musi river face-lift. Officials from the Musi River Front Development Corporation Limited (MRDCL) have laid about 9.5 km of walking and cycling tracks at an estimated cost of Rs 9 crore. Officials said the Musi beautification and rejuvenation project would need another three years to take proper shape.
After repeated complaints by those living around Musi of worsening stench and pollution, the Musi River Front Development Project began in 2006, it is yet to see the light of the day.
After the formation of Telangana state, the government dusted off the project and decided to give a face-lift to Musi at an estimated cost of Rs 740 crore, with 70 per cent of the funding coming from the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD).
Due to fund-crunch, the project gathered dust during the first TRS government. In the meanwhile, the project cost escalated to Rs 1,665 crore.
Citing this, the government constituted MRDCL on March 25, 2017. The state government is expected to contributeRs 500 crore while the remaining amount will be raised from banks and financial institutions. The project commenced in December 2017 but there has hardly been any progress.
Despite forming Musi Riverfront Development Corporation (MRDC) and earmarking Rs 1,665 crore, the nodal agency has neither diverted effluents nor removed encroachments from the banks till date.
Since July last, however, amid the Covid-19 lockdown, corporation authorities identified a few patches on the banks of the river, where there was scope for development: 3.5 km from Nagole to Kothapet, 3 km in Uppal Bhagat, 2 km from Chaderghat to Puranapul and about 2 km near Muslim Jung Bridge.
The authorities have decided to construct walking and cycling tracks of about six-metre width at a few locations and of three metres at other places. Officials said that they have spent Rs 9 crore for the development.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, MRDCL Chairman D. Sudheer Reddy said that this marks just five per cent of the proposed development, and has been appreciated by the public. He said that the project could progress at a brisk pace once the DPR is prepared.
“Though a few designs were shortlisted in an international competition, they could not be implemented considering the city’s topography and laws. All of them were designed for 500-metre space and included roads, landscaping, walking and cycling tracks, which could not be implemented in the city as it would result in massive displacement of people. The corporation has asked the authorities to prepare a DPR, which is also progressing at a good pace,” he said.
Asked about the odour that emanates from the river, Sudheer Reddy said there were few complaints about it from those using the walking tracks He said that the corporation would coordinate with Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board to set up sewerage treatment plants to treat water and release fresh water into the river.
He said that they would remove up to four feet of sludge from the river to minimise the smell and ensure free flow of the river.
“Once the DPR is prepared, the corporation will get a clearer picture regarding the beautification and rejuvenation of the project. I went for an early morning padayatra near Nagole where members from about 15 colonies participated. We had breakfast on the banks of Musi,” he added.