By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, July 3: Hyderabad is all set to become the largest city in India in terms of municipal area if Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy has his way on Greater Hyderabad. It will also overthrow several world cities like Seoul, Manila and Buenos Aires.
However, in terms of population, Greater Hyderabad will occupy a slot behind Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi but will overtake Chennai (64 lakhs) and Bangalore (56 lakhs) to become the fourth most populous city in India and 24th in the world only after Hong Kong (68 lakhs). At present Hyderabad occupies the sixth position in the country and 45th slot in the world.
Greater Hyderabad, the proposal of which was cleared by State Cabinet on Friday, will push twin cities from a small municipal area of 172 sq km and a population of 36 lakh to 725 sq km area and 65 lakh population. It will bring "A 1" and "mega city" status to Hyderabad pumping in more funds from the Central government for Urban development. A1 status will benefit employees in terms of city compensatory, house rent and dearness allowances while mega city status will help the common man with good civic infrastructure and better transport connectivity.
While metropolitan cities around the world including Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai grew in geographical area and population in stages, the State government's decision will catapult Hyderabad by five times in area and 100 per cent in population. Urban development experts feel that though Hyderabad will become the largest city in terms of municipal area, it will take a long time for it to reach Chennai and Mumbai civic amenities-wise.
"No doubt we will get more funds from the Centre. But the growth will be slower than that of Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai. People may get good civic amenities but they will lose their voice thanks to the merger of municipalities", feels J Rama Rao of Movement for Sustainable Development.
However, transport and traffic expert NVS Reddy argues that though Hyderabad will become the largest city in terms of municipal area, in actual terms it could not be classified as the biggest city. "The general phenomenon is that a city's size is measured by its population and not its area. But the good thing is that Hyderabad will get A1 and mega city status", says Reddy, who is also the additional commissioner of transport and traffic.
Though Delhi spreads over 1483 sq km, the municipal area is quite small (around 660 sq km). Moreover, since Delhi is a State headed by a chief minister, it cannot be classified as a municipal city. In the case of Bangalore too, the municipal area is around 151 sq km though the Bangalore district spreads over 2,191 sq km. Chennai municipal corporation has a geographical area of 178.20 sq km while Mumbai spreads over 440 sq km. Kolkata covers an area of 185 sq km.
Greater Hyderabad (725 sq km) will place the Capital of Andhra Pradesh ahead of Argentina capital city of Buenos Aires (200 sq km), The Philippines capital Manila (636 sq km) and South Korean Capital Seoul (605.52 sq km).
If one takes into account the geographical extent of the present Hyderabad Urban agglomeration covering HUDA area (1864 sq km), it beats great cities like London 1620 sq km), Moscow (1035 sq km) and Karachi (1800 sq km). Only Chinese city of Shanghai (6341 sq km) and Brazilian capital Sao Paulo (3108 sq miles) and Turkish city of Istanbul (1966) are ahead of HUDA.
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