Sunday, January 26, 2014

Half of Iskcon temple to be razed by Hyderabad Metro

After showing sheer arrogance and utter disregard to the historic heritage buildings of Hyderabad city, the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) authorities appear to be adamant on demolishing at least half of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), Secunderabad temple (Near Sangeet theatre) on Corridor-3. HMR proposes to acquire 1,600 square yards of land of the 100-year old temple. HMR now says 900 sq.yrd only will be affected. The temple complex will get totally ruined and lose all the charm of a cultural place with the metro pillars inside its complex and the gigantic corridor viaduct going right over the temple.
Iskcon temple officials and devotees have protested against the arbitrary nature of the HMR and its arrogance. They have proposed an alternative in consultation with railway engineers. They stressed that this alternative “was designed by a panel consisting of top railway (SCR) engineers, headed by the chief engineer himself. There were 10 members in the panel”. In the picture given below, the shaded rectangular area is the temple premises, the red lines are the existing proposal of the HMR and the yellow lines are the proposed alternative by Iskcon as per the advise of the railway engineers. By following the alternative, there will be no difference to the demolition of other buildings and, more importantly, the temple will be saved.

Our View: The present controversy is due to the total lack of transparency and public consultation on the routes of the HMR in the city. Such controversies arose at several places – Sultan Bazaar-Badi Chawdi-Koti, Ameerpet-Yousufguda-Krishnanagar, Regimental Bazaar, Nampally etc. The HMR and GHMC authorities have displayed utter lack of sensitivity and more of arrogance. They appear to be eager to serve the private interests of the L&T than the public cause. Already the Govt of AP has given more lands, worth hundreds of crores, to L&T than what are specified in the Concession Agreement.
The alternative curve proposed by the Iskcon with the advise of the railway engineers should be followed by the HMR. If they claim that the curve is not conducive for the trains to negotiate, we would like to remind them that from Greenlands to JHills Checkpost, there are at least seven L-shared curves. Till now the HMR and L&T have not disclosed to the public about the designs of the metro at these curves. Therefore, the HMR’s claims cannot be trusted.
We extend our support to the Iskcon temple authorities in their fight to save the temple.
The following weblinks (developed by the Iskcon officials) gives the details of the existing and proposed curves:
This is the link wherein they explain what would happen if they dont take ISKCON temple land. This is a completely bogus alternative. Railway engineers had a good laugh. 
Here is what we are proposing:
You would find all information here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

FIR against L&T by the NHAI

 An FIR has been filed against the L&T Metro, which is constructing Hyderabad metro rail (HMR), in Sanathnagar police station (Hyderabad). L&T and HMR have been behaving as law unto themselves. Their highhanded attitude over other departments in the govt has been a talking point for sometime in the official circles. Now the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has filed this FIR. L&T has been recklessly violating the existing rules and practices in road widening and road laying, and taking up the metro works along the highways (Eenadu, 22 Jan, Hyd city edition). He is the link to the news item: 
It is not a small issue that a central govt agency files an FIR against L&T. People who are travelling along the metro construction routes have been experiencing nightmares in traffic jams, spoiled roads, lack of traffic police to guide etc. At most of the spots where the soil test were done, badly laid and rough patches have been left out creating a serious nuisance and a hazard for the vehicles. And, in Hyderabad, nobody questions the metro people. Because it is big project.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Dear all,
I wish all the social activist a very Happy and Successful New Year. Hope our struggles bear fruit in strengthening democracy and accountability in governance. The victory of AAP in Delhi and its forthcoming expansion all over India provide immense hope in this direction. I, on my part at Hyderabad, will continue to expose the Hyderabad's elevated metro rail project. I will be continuously seeking the support of the fellow activists in the city and elsewhere in this purpose.
With best regards,
Dr. C. Ramachandraiah
The two photos below were taken when a group of geography students visited Hyderabad in December 2013 as part of their study tour. They were already aware of our campaign on this project and also this blog. I gave them first a presentation in my Centre, clarified all kinds of doubts, and later took them on a field visit to Sultan Bazaar which is a heritage area. See some posts on this blog to know their fight against the metro project. The students were surprised to see how vibrant the bazaar was and were wondering how can any civilised government demolish such a bazaar.