Monday, 18 May 2009

Hyderabad - the global city where future meets the present

By Syed Akbar

Hyderabad. The name spells future. Yes! The city of an eight million dedicated people and megapolis with a strong tradition and unparalleled cultural heritage rooted deep in centuries. It's a city where the past shakes hands with the present. And the future beacons the citizens with a graceful embrace.
Hyderabad, the city of Nawabs, is all poised to become a global megapolis what with a bouquet of development plans on the anvil. Already truly international in outlook, Hyderabad is going to turn into a major global hub for investment opportunities, business transactions, education, information technology, medicine, pharma industry and tourism.
The international airport, one of the most modern international airports in Asia, has thrown up Hyderabad as a major transit point for international travellers the world over. The international airport at Shamshabad, 25 km away from the city, opened up up the skies linking Hyderabad with many more world class cities spread across six continents.
Several multinational companies have made Hyderabad their home. The forex flow into the city has been going up year by year. Innumerable call centres of international standards are located in the city, catering to the clientele, not only in India but also in the US and Europe. Microsoft, Genepact, HSBC and Motorola are some of the big international names. Their preference for Hyderabad speaks volumes of the greatness of this ancient city.
The World Bank in its recent report described Hyderabad as the most favoured destination for investors. The last three years saw Hyderabad transform from a sleepy city to something really happening. And the years to come will see Hyderabad emerge as a truly global city, the world will look at. Hyderabad has always been the city of gardens and lakes. The State government has ensured that development does not affect the greenery. The city is lush green with designer parks and beautified picturesque lakes which give a relaxed feeling to the otherwise tired and stressed out minds of citizens. Laws have been framed to make sure that the concrete jungle does not eat into the green belt.
With more than a dozen universities, deemed universities and institutions of higher learning Hyderabad has already carved out a niche in the field of education, science and technology. A number of scientific and defence research centres of international repute are part of the city's landscape. The students and scientists produced from these institutions are in great demand all over the world, particularly in the West.
With Information and Communication Technology clusters dotting the landscapes of Hyderabad, the city has been responsible for the brain gain for India. Brain drain syndrome has become a history thanks to Hyderabad. The city has been attracting not only foreign professionals but also withholding the local talent from draining out. Such is the tremendous potential the city holds. No doubt, Hyderabad has over taken Bangalore to emerge as the new Silicon Valley of India, nay the Asia-Pacific region.
The expansion of the city with the merger of surrounding municipalities has further given an impetus for growth beyond imagination. The outer ring road will take the city outside its present boundaries for smooth flow of traffic. The outer ring road coupled with the mass rapid transit system dotted by flyovers and elevated road/rail corridors makes life smooth going literally with no traffic chaos.
The landscape of the city is changing by the day and once the projects on the anvil are executed, Hyderabad will be a city of dreams, of hopes, of future and of growth beyond bounds. This ageless city of kings and rulers is all set to be taken over by modern minds which thinks nothing but of progress, security, peace, development and growth.

Hyderabad Mass Rapid Transit System:

The Mass Rapid Transit System or simply the metro rail has been planned at an estimated cost of Rs 8760 crore and is expected to be ready in four years. Along with international airport, flyover, elevated expressway and outer ring, the metro rail project will take Hyderabad ahead of many cities of its class dotting the globe.
Areas not covered by MMTS and metro rail projects will have a unique Bus Rapid Transit System. As many as seven routes covering 63 km at a cost of Rs 496 crore have been planned. The MMTS has been designed to cater to the needs of the ever-growing city whose population is expected to touch the 10 million mark in the next five years. The present MMTS train services are carrying 50,000 passengers daily taking off the burden to that extent from the city roads.

Green Hyderabad, Clean Hyderabad

The State government, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority have been working in close coordination for maintenance of ecological balance in the city. The rapid growth of the city has thrown up environmental challenges to the citizens and the authorities have successfully over come them by giving boost to lung spaces for a cleaner and greener Hyderabad.
All parks which are more than one acres in extent are developed as city level parks. Thirty such parks are in pipeline.
The strategy is to ensure intensive afforestation with indigenous and ornamental plant species and provide active recreation for young and old alike.

Smooth traffic, easy accessibility

Hyderabad has a total of 209 clusters of traffic islands. They have all been developed for smooth flow of traffic providing easy accessibility for citizens to reach one locality from other. Traffic islands have been beautified to give a relaxing look to the motorists whenever they stop at the traffic signals.
Central medians have been well laid out and traffic signals provided at all important junctions to ensure that motorists do not find any difficulty using the roads in Hyderabad.

City with a heart for the poor

Hyderabad is the city of its people, both rich and poor. While the rich have the means to fend for themselves, it is the social obligation of the State government and the GHMC to look after the needs of the havenots.
The Urban Poverty Alleviation Programme taken up by the State government has transformed the living standards of the poor living in the city. Special focus was on those residing in slums and those below the poverty line.
The government has taken up self-employment programmes under Swarna jayanthi Shahari Rozgar Yojana. About 40 per cent of the budgetary provision of the municipal corporation has been earmarked for slum improvement and poverty alleviation schemes.

Good sanitation, healthy citizens

When we say Hyderabad is a world class and truly international city, we mean it. The development works taken up speak on our behalf. The municipal corporation has taken up work on storm water drains. The sewerage system has been improved. All major drains are desilted by using specialised machines. The unprecedented floods in the city in August 2000 has led the State government to concentrate more on sanitation. the result is now widened Hussainsagar, Begumpet and Balkapur channels.
The corporation is going in for a remodelling of the existing storm water drain system based on the report submitted by Kirloskar Consultancy.
Hyderabad has always been known for its cleanliness and this explains why the city is less prone to infectious diseases.

Strong body, intelligent mind

The municipal corporation and the State government are fully aware of the health principle that a strong body leads to an intelligent mind. With this principle in mind, several play fields and stadiums have been developed. There are numerous swimming pools too. They city has hosted National Games in 2002 and Afro Asian Games the next year.
The GHMC has been encouraging citizens to lead a healthy and energetic life and hence providing the best of infrastructure and equipment. Coaching camps are conducted regularly for the benefit of boys and girls, who do otherwise have access to such a facility at an exorbitant fee.
The highlight of the sporting activity is conduct of sports meets for differently abled sportspersons and inter-slum sports tournaments.

Healthy food, nutritious diet

Hyderabadi always give priority to healthy food and nutritious diet. And so do the GHMC and the State government. For Hyderabad to be a world class city, its people too should lead a healthy and nutritious life. The modernisation of slaughter houses in the city has led to cleaner meat supplies for citizens. The fish and poultry markets too are modernised.

Regulated buildings, happy living

The Building Regulation Scheme has not only improved the coffers of the civic body and the State government but also brought about an improved system in the city. It has checked the haphazard growth of the city which otherwise would lead to utter chaos. Planned development of the city is what the State government wants and is committed to.

Save Musi, drive away filth

The river Musi is the lifeline of Hyderabad. But unfortunately, the river has turned polluted thanks to unplanned growth of sewerage system. Now the State government has woken up to the need of saving the Musi river and restoring it to its old glory and charm.
The Save Musi Campaign was launched on August 24, 2005. The major objectives of the campaign are to clean the river, develop it as a major tourist attraction, create city level recreational and green spaces, facilitate economic development and social integration and maintain watersheets at strategic locations.

Information Technology, the first choice

Hyderabad has been the hub of information technology right from the time IT took a revolutionary step forward in the country. No wonder then that IT is the first choice of the officials and the citizens alike, when it comes to implementing service oriented projects.
Hyderabad First is MCH's firm step towards creating an open information civil society through democratic processes. The project is a utility driven formula with a four-pronged agenda - accessibility, transparency, accountability and responsiveness. Its website URL is and it enables the citizens to access various products and services provided by the MCH from the comfort of their homes or offices.
The services include: payment of dues online, birth and death online registration, online issue of digital birth and death certificates, online tracking of building plans, e-grievances, Instaxx short messaging system, online infrastructure works, e-procurement, opinion polls, accounting package, legal case management system, C2C initiatives, file monitoring system, mobile van services and automated vehicle tracking system for solid waste management. Hand-held computers for property tax, intelligent parking system, introduction of enterprise resource planning and mosquito control measures are other programmes aimed at transforming the face of Hyderabad from a traditional to a modern city, yet with roots in its past culture and traditions.

JNNURM - changing the city, citizens

The Government of India has formulated a scheme, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. It is a reforms driven fast track planned development of identified cities with focus on efficiency in urban infrastructure/service delivery mechanism/community participation and accountability of urban local bodies/parastatals towards citizens.
Hyderabad is one of the identified cities under this scheme. with an approved outlay of Rs 20,016 crore, this scheme is going to change the way Hyderabad and Hyderabadis look. This is a mammoth and impartment scheme for the benefit of Hyderabad city implemented by GHMC, HMWS&SB, HUDA, APSHC and APSRTC.

Fund your city, make it beautiful

The municipal body has launched an innovative programme, Fund Your City, wherein citizens and industrialists will fund the development works. They will help in creation of infrastructural facilities in public-private partnership mode. The programme has been a grand success. The corporation mobilised Rs 54 crore in four rounds. A total of 27 foot over bridges have been constructed under the scheme.
Traffic signals have been improved so are the road junctions, with these funds.

Protecting heritage, preserving past

Neither the State government nor the GHMC has shirked its responsibility of preserving the glorious past of this Nawabi city. The HUDA is also engaged in protecting the monuments in the city. Apart from restoring the historic monuments, the government has taken up the big challenge of protecting the Charminar, the landmark of Hyderabad. The Charminar Pedestrianisation project is aimed at easing out automobiles from the zone to ensure that it is protected from traffic vibrations and pollution.


DBV said...

Objection, Hazrat, very very strong objection.
How could you write that "The last three years saw Hyderabad transform from a sleepy city to something really happening"?
In fact, you should appreciate that the city started dying in the last three years, what with poor infrastructure development, pathetic traffic management and things like that making the city a living hell for ordinary people. Ten minutes of rain (just 2 mm) leaves lakhs of people suffering on roads for more than three hours! Is this what you call "something really happening"?
Go round the city and see how good the city looks (pun and sic)! Haven't you seen cables dangling on every road, many severed and lying unattended on the road, thereby becoming death-traps? Take a two-wheeler ride on the Telugu Talli fly-over opposite the seat of power. See the condition of the road on the fly-over. The Panjagutta fly-over from Begumpet up to Banjara Hills has turned into a racing track for filthy rich and atrocious car drivers. This is a city where people don't have road sense or concern for lives.
Haven't you seen how lakhs and lakhs of rupees of public money is squandered in the name of traffic signals? I can give you many, many more such examples to ponder.
The city has been dying: day-by-day since May 14, 2004. There is nothing more to happen, Hazrat.

DBV said...

If you are ready, I am ready for a point-by-point debate on what all you wrote in this article.

Garbled Mind said...

Dear DBV,

I'm living in Hyderabad for the past 3 years. I have lived in the other 2 Southern Metros of Chennai and Bangalore for 7 years. Let me share this with you, that though I will agree with you on most of the points you've made. But I feel the thrust of the main article is essentially self indulgence and feeling good about our city.

This feel-good (some times may be delusional too) factor can emnate from the joy one feels on the IPL win to the little convenience of a new flyover.

I agree that in the past 3 years, development within the city has slowed down, but I would add that being a smaller and still growing city, it has more potential to be created in a planned manner. The major infrastrusture investments are just coming in now. We might see the fruits only after 2-3 years.

I look at the city as a small cap stock with a sound business model, though going cheap now when the world takes notice it wil rise and it will rise fast.

Also please note that for all the initiatives of the K'taka Govt, when it came to establishing a counsulate the Americans chose Hyd over B'lore as they see this is where the future growth is. Hyderabad has also been described as the best investment destination in India by the Association of American Corporations in India, headed by Indra Nooyi.

So all in all I would agree that alls not well and alls not going well, but theres hope and theres oppurtunity.

Well if we can transform ourselves from being the last team on the point table last year to the Champs this year at the IPL, we can make things happen.

Good luck to my city and good luck to all its people. May god take the city from strength to strength.

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This Day In History

Mother's Care

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Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

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Convention on Biodiversity

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity