Wednesday, September 21, 2011

L&T fed up with Metro MD

Times of India, 19 September 2011.
Another of his tribe 
Probably the only other officer to leave a central service and join the state government is another railway man, N V S Reddy. An Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) official, NVS forced his way into the state government to become the permanent managing director of Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation. Reddy is these days busy with the metro rail project and spares no one who questions the way the project is being taken forward. At the receiving end are not only NGO representatives but also members of the fourth estate. Reddy is too smart to take them head on but spreads tales that they are working at the behest of 'vested interests." A little bird says that the project contractors Larsen & Toubro (L&T) are also fed up with the way that Reddy conducts his public affairs and speaks out of turn. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

HCC gets tough with Hyderabad Metro reg heritage buildings

Better late than never. I wish the HCC sticks to its position (there seem to be some discrepancies in some names of buildings in the news item). The Urban Arts Commission is very powerful in Delhi regarding protection of heritage buildings. Delhi metro had to change alignment near Qutab Minar - C.R

Underground metro mooted to save heritage precincts

HYDERABAD: To save Hyderabad's heritage from being run over by the metro rail project, the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) has for the first time made a statement on the issue and suggested that the metro line be taken underground, at least partially.It has also stated that the metro rail body should take clearance from it before taking up work near any heritage site.

The committee's proposal came to light in a recent letter sent by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) to Forum for a Better Hyderabad, in response to queries raised by the latter on the controversial project. In its letter, HMDA stated that the metro rail issue was placed before the HCC at a recent meeting, wherein the body proposed that the project be taken underground on the metro routes that house heritage buildings and precincts. 

The committee also suggested that the project director (metro rail) seek clearance from HCC before starting work. According to HMDA, these proposals have now been forwarded to metro officials for further deliberation. Activists say that close to 17 ancient monuments of the city would have to be pulled down if the metro project is executed in its present form.
 This list includes parts of prominent buildings such as the Jubilee Hall, Vilayath Manzil, Hyderabad central building division's office (Moazam Jahi market), Nampally Sarai, Women's College, Koti, etc. "Laying underground tracks is the only solution we have in sight to save this heritage cover," said HCC member Sanjay Torvi. "In the past, when the metro authorities made a presentation before us, we had suggested that the matter be dealt with sensitively. But this time we have made a specific appeal and we hope it is honoured." 

The committee also dismissed arguments about the option (of going underground) being unviable owing to Hyderabad's rocky terrain. In fact city architect Srinivas Murthy, while lauding the HCC's decision, said that it was no Herculean task to build an underground rail network, thanks to latest technologies.

"It would slightly inflate the budget of the project but then that is a small price to pay to protect the city's heritage," Murthy said. Referring to the metro rail in New Delhi, the architect pointed out how the entire route passing through Old Delhi is built underground so as to preserve the character of the area. 

Even in Bangalore, city activists say, an 8.2 km-long metro line is being laid underground to protect the ancient Vidhan Sabha building. "We have forwarded the HCC's proposal to Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) officials. Now it is up to them to conduct the required surveys and see how best they can execute it," said Sayed Ziauddin, chief planner, HMDA. He said that the HMDA was still awaiting a response from HMR on the issue.