Monday, April 29, 2013

L&T's 'Goodwill Gesture' to Hyderabad Journalists

Project and Publicity. Quid pro Quo? Or What else? A big construction firm, L&T, is 'helping' in the design and supervision of constructing a swanky building as a 'goodwill gesture' for the Hyderabad Press Club in Somajiguda. You may wonder why the L&T has developed so much love for the media. It is building Hyderabad metro rail (HMR) which is mired in many controversies. It may also be noted that L&T and HMR organised a lavish party recently for the journalists in a place on the outskirts of the city (We published it on our blog.) What else could be the motive if not getting favourable publicity? Read the news item below.

Row over L&T gesture, Times of India, Hyderabad, Apr 29, 2013. 
HYDERABAD: Plans to build a swankier press club at Somajiguda had run into controversy with several members of the club objecting to the decision, which they say, has been taken by the management without taking majority of journalists into confidence. The new club's design, comprising three floors, a centralised kitchen, a convention centre, a press conference hall and two restaurants, has been planned by construction firm Larsen and Toubro(L&T). While club authorities said that the total cost would be around Rs 4-5 crore, they clarified that the construction major is helping the club in executing the project as a 'goodwill gesture'. During an emergency general body meeting held on Sunday at the club to discuss the plans, members raised questions on the involvement of L&T in the project. Last week, L&T engineers gave a power point presentation on the design of the new building to a selected few members, which did not go down well with the remaining.
Larsen & Toubro is building the metro rail project in Hyderabad at an estimated cost of Rs 14,132 crore. The project has been dogged with inordinate delay and there has been numerous complaints on allotment of prime land at dirt cheap rates. A case has been filed against the project by traders of Ameerpet, saying that the alignment of the project has been changed unilaterally, violating the detailed project report.

L&T has not been able to make inroads into the Sultan Bazaar area due to resistance from locals. "There is no doubt that the metro project has given L&T negative branding and I am sure they would do anything that could boost their image in Hyderabad," an analyst said.
For more, go to the link:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Critically analysing the Hyd Metro project in an international conference

I will be presenting my paper "Elevated Metro Rail and Undoing the City - Social Activism against a PPP Project in Hyderabad" in the Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers in Los Angeles, USA during 9-13 April. It is the largest gathering of geographers in the world. About 7000 scholars from the discipline of Geography and other related fields will participate in the conference.

I will also be a panel speaker in a special session in honour of Prof. Neil Smith, a well-known leftist geographer, who passed away recently at the City University of New York. The session title is: "Geography Towards Revolution for Neil Smith - Part V: Radical Geography Roundtable Discussion". I will also focus on the metro project, the concession agreement, real estate, lack of transparency, the High Court Order etc. in this special session also.
- C.R