HYDERABAD: Senior officials of GHMC and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) on Thursday inspected the Musi river and the nalas flowing into it from Attapur and Moosarambagh on the directions of the high court. GHMC and HMDA were asked to submit a report to the court about the points of sewage entry into the Musi by November 30. Senior officials including GHMC commissioner Somesh Kumar and HMWSSB MD Syamala Rao were present during the inspection.
The officials inspected removal of encroachments along the river besides the sewage interception and treatment. HMWS&SB has taken up half of the proposed interception treatment works and funds for the remaining work are awaited from National River Conservation Board.
The GHMC commissioner also directed officials of the bio-diversity wing to beautify the entire stretch along the river.
HYDERABAD: Ignoring serious environmental concerns by agencies, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) is dumping tons of pollutants dredged from Hussainsagar in an abandoned stone quarry near thickly-populated Bachupally area.
The HMDA had zeroed in on the five-acre site for dumping the waste, but the AP Pollution Control Board flatly refused to give its nod without a scientific study to determine the repercussions of dumping waste on groundwater.
With no alternative government plan in place, the HMDA commissioned a city-based national research institute to conduct a feasibility study. The agency conducted tests in June-July this year and found it suitable for dumping non-toxic sediments in a preliminary study, but strongly recommended a comprehensive assessment after monsoon as ground water conditions change significantly post-monsoon in Hyderabad.
As part of the study, the agency wanted to carry out another round of tests on infiltration, ground water contamination and electrical resistivity tomography studies, among others after monsoon.
“It was only a preliminary report, and it needs to be followed up by another study after the monsoons owing to changes in the ground water,” said an official, privy to the report.
Recommendations were also made to drill five observation wells that would facilitate constant monitoring of the ground water, which were totally ignored by HMDA.
The wells would have captured seasonal changes in the sediment-ground water interaction, particularly during rains, officials said.
But HMDA, already under fire for its slackness on dredging waste from the iconic lake, submitted the preliminary assessment report, and got a nod from the PCB in September. For close to a month, thousands of cubic metres of waste are currently being dumped at the stone quarry.
The three main nalas feeding into Hussainsagar selected for dredging include Balkapur, Kukatpally and Picket. While the sediments from Picket and Balkapur nalas have been classified as non-toxic, the sediments from the Kukatpally nala were found to be highly toxic.
Environmentalists say that the dredging cannot prove beneficial unless flow of wastes into the nalas ceases.
“Polluting industries have not been reined in. As a result, sewage and effluents find their way into the nalas, notwithstanding the measures taken to divert and treat the water,” said OM Debara of HMDA’s Tree Protection Committee. The committee had turned down HMDA’s request to chop trees near People’s Plaza for using it as temporary dumping site.
When inquired about the whole controversy, HMDA member environment RP Khajuria said that the dumping was taken up after approval from the state pollution control board.
“The sediments from dredging were tested and were found to be similar to soil without any contaminating effects. The agency carried out the tests and it was a one-time study. We are therefore not conducting any further tests,” he said.
HYDERABAD: The AP State Minority Commission has decided to ask the CEO of the AP State Wakf Board to file petitions in the State Wakf Tribunal seeking its direction to have illegal occupiers evicted from the wakf lands in Aloor and Malkajgiri.
“We have received two different petitions from people connected with the wakf land belonging to Maqdoom Biyabai Dargah in Aloor and a shrine in Malkajgiri and other villages. On preliminary inquiry we found that the land belongs to the dargahs there. The respective tahsildars have submitted records before the commission that clearly say that the land is in illegal occupation. Unless it is retrieved and handed over to the representatives of the dargahs, nothing can be done with that property whose value runs in hundreds of crore,” APSMC chairman Abid Rasool Khan said.
According to the petition filed by Mohammed Faizullah, Mutawalli of Dargah Maqdoom Biyabani, nearly 1300 acres of land that belongs to the dargah have been encroached and sold away illegally. The dargah is located in Aloor village of Chevella mandal of Ranga Reddy district. “This is the same land where the government of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy wanted to develop an electronic park. The then government had given authority to APIIC to negotiate with the mutawalli (caretaker) as well as the wakf officials to get them to agree to its proposal. But at that time no one agreed to the proposal,” sources said.
They also said that some of the occupiers are willing to part with their possession provided they are compensated. The market rate of the land is about Rs 16 lakh per acre, the sources informed. Alternatively, the direction of the Wakf Tribunal and the help of the government can be sought to have the encroachers evicted from the property, they said.
Similar situation prevails in Malkajgiri (384 acres), Attapur (660 acres) and other villages where wakf land is located. “The case here is more complicated. Nevertheless, according to the amended Wakf Act the tribunal can direct eviction after listening to the parties involved in the dispute. The CEO of the Wakf Board will be asked to take the necessary course of action in this regard,” Khan said.
HYDERABAD: Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) to speed up ongoing projects like radial roads, new projects like Hyderabad Habitat Centre, Science City and initiatives like land pooling schemes and Educational Hub apart from lake protection works with specific time-frame.
The chief minister, who is also chairman of HMDA board, chaired the 5th meeting of the authority at the Secretariat on Tuesday. The board also cleared preparation of master plan for the Secunderabad Cantonment area. While the HMDA covers 7,257 square kilometres, the Secunderabad Cantonment is spread over 42 sq kms. As of now, there is no master plan for the Cantonment area. The Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB), which administers the Cantonment area, had earlier requested the authority to prepare a master plan for the Cantonment area.
The meeting also ratified the Metropolitan Development Plan-2031 for Hyderabad Metropolitan Region (HMR), notified by the state government. Of the total HMDA area of 7257 sq kms, the plan covers 5,985 sq kms in 35 mandals of four districts. The projected population of HMDA is 1.84 crore for 2031.
The board also approved the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS) initiated by the authority. LPS is being taken up by the HMDA under pilot project at two places Edulanagulapally-Kollur and Pratapsingaram-Gowrelli. The chief minister gave the green signal for the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) master plan for HMR, Hyderabad Habitat Centre that would be taken up in an extent of 11 acres land at Khanamet. A detailed project report would be prepared for the centre. Another major project, Science City, being taken up at a cost of Rs 160 crore, and Eco Park at Kotwalguda and Education Hub at Jawaharangar were also cleared by the HMDA board.
HMDA officials informed that the authority intends to re-introduce green channel concept, where owners, builders and developers would have the option to obtain approval of building permissions in a speedy manner within seven working days. The concept would be introduced in a phased manner making it applicable initially to layout approvals. The authority also agreed for restoration and conservation of nine clock towers in notified heritage buildings. The initiative has been taken by FI(Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) with the help of HMDA for the conservation and restoration works.
VIJAYAWADA: The labour department has decided invoke revenue recovery Act to attach assets of the realtors if they fail to pay labour cess under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (BOCW) Act.
Government has finally decided to crack the whip as builders and contractors have been ignoring the notices issued by the local joint commissioners of labour. Provisions of the revenue recovery Act will be implemented through local bodies, which grant building plans to realtors by keeping assets mortgaged.
According to sources, realtors and infrastructure companies in the state owe nearly Rs 2000 crore as labour cess. Following a directive from the state government, joint commissioners of labour will write to the authorities of local bodies such as municipal commissioners and vice-chairpersons of urban development authorities asking them not to free properties from mortgage of the errant realtors until they paid labour cess.
Sources said the government decided to tighten the noose around the realtors at the level of local bodies as they could not sell until the authorities freed their mortgaged properties. The realtors who secure plans for their apartments and buildings would be mandated to mortgage about 10 per cent of the total property for verification of violations in plan granted by the concerned authorities.
Usually, the authorities, who grant building permissions, do not go for verification after the completion of construction. The builders thus get their mortgaged properties released. However, it would now become difficult for the authorities of the local bodies to free the mortgaged properties unless realtors get a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) from the labour department.”We have suggested that the VC and MD of Vijayawada-Guntur-Tenali-Mangalagiri urban development authority not to release the assets of at least four big realtors, who owe nearly Rs 4 crore towards labour cess,” joint commissioner of labour K Yella Rao told TOI. Realtors in each district have dues to an extent of Rs 20 to 60 crore. While there are dues to the tune of nearly Rs 50 crore in Krishna district, it is nearly Rs 70 crore in Guntur district. Sources said over Rs 200 crore are due from Hyderabad, Rangareddy, and Visakhapatnam districts each.
Sources said the government took a tough stance in view of general elections as collection of dues will help in filling up of of empty coffers of the state to some extent.
HYDERABAD: Bowing to the pressure from builders and land owners, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials are said to be actively considering construction of a link road from Navayuga SEZ, opposite the West Zone of GHMC, to Chandanagar railway station in Serilingampally, at an estimated cost of Rs 17.10 crore.
Though there are several other roads which are in want of urgent repairs, the authorities are leaning towards taking this up the link road work on a priority basis and have already placed a proposal before the standing committee for approval.
Normally, development of link roads is taken up to decongest thoroughfares and also reduce the distance between two destinations. Before taking up construction of any road, the traffic volume on the existing road and link road are taken into consideration. But the civic officials seen to have ignored these vital things before proposing the link road.
Sources said the proposed 2.3-km link road from GHMC office to Chandanagar does not serve any immediate purpose to commuters as the road ends abruptly at the railway station there.
The Mumbai highway and colonies of any reckoning are on the other side of the railway station. To connect the proposed road to the highway and residential colonies, a rail over bridge (ROB) across the tracks is required besides huge funds and approval from the South Central Railway. Secondly, the traffic volume on the University of Hyderabad (UOH) is not much to worry about calling for any decongestion measures. Moreover, the officials are not sure about the traffic that would use the proposed road to reach Chandanagar railway station. Interestingly, the GHMC officials, defying logic, have proposed a 150 ft (four lane) wide road by acquiring the land from private property owners. Many wonder who on earth need such a road at a place like that while arterial roads like SP Road, Kukatpally and Punjagutta are just about 150 ft wide.
There are allegations that the road is being proposed to benefit some realtors and property owners to increase their land values and also to construct big malls, multiplexes and hotels in near future.
GHMC authorities blame each other for the proposed link road. While the engineering wing (projects) officials say the proposal was moved by the town planning wing, the latter points fingers at the former. “The link road has been proposed keeping in view future needs and traffic volume though there is not enough traffic on the road as of now,” GHMC zonal commissioner (West Zone) Aleem Basha.
Meanwhile this is not first time the GHMC faced similar criticism in developing roads and even the authorities are facing vigilance and enforcement (V&E) inquiry.
The V&E department is probing into the road formed from north side of National Academy of Construciton (NAC) campus to rail under bridge connecting Kukatpally as part of COP 11 works. The wasteful expenditure was stopped in the midway after media criticism though about Rs 70 lakh was squandered on the fancy project.
Similarly, there was a hue and cry over the development of road abutting Annapurna studios at a cost of Rs 7.2 crore.
The road connects Krishnanagar junction via the film studio from Road No 2, Banjara Hills, by widening the road. The standing committee and the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) department cleared the road a few months ago.
HYDERABAD: The spiraling rate of the dollar coupled with modest pricing is likely to attract NRI investment to the city’s real estate sector in the near future, said representatives from the industry on Thursday.
In an attempt to allay fears of consumers, members of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI-AP Chapter), insisted that the market condition had improved post 2012 and is currently on the path to a steady recovery.
“It is true that whenever there has been an unrest owing to the Telangana issue, the industry has slipped into a state of turmoil for a about two to three weeks. But that dip in business has always been temporary. Now that we have a clear picture about the fate of the state in general and the city in particular, things are only likely to look up,” said C Sekhar Reddy, national president of the organization.
Reddy claimed that in the last six months, the sector had already started its transition from being a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. “There are projects that have been launched at a higher price (of over Rs 3,000 per sft) than the earlier prevalent rate of Rs 2,500 (average) in the last few weeks,” he added.
However, despite this marginal jump, developers said that property values in the city are still at “rock bottom” (in comparison to other metros in India) and therefore more affordable for consumers. Given Hyderabad’s “world-class” infrastructure and other amenities, they said that the local market was the best investment destination at present. “The average price is between Rs 1,700 per sft (only in the outskirts) and Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 per sft. Clearly, buying property here now would be a wise decision,” said S Ram Reddy, the newly appointed president of CREDAI-AP.
Chalking out a two-year roadmap for the confederation that comprises 1,300 members from across the state, its office bearers said that the body would work towards initiating the process of procuring online building permissions, reducing cost of construction through bulk material purchases, enhancing the pool of skilled labourers and compiling data on the availability of built-up space in the city.
Reiterating that the slump in the market, post 2008, was not solely rooted in the local political crisis but the global recession as well, members said that the aforementioned issues have, by and large, faded out and that the real estate prices in Hyderabad are now set for a northward ride.
HYDERABAD: In a bid to bring in transparency, avoid delays and check corruption, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has decided to integrate online building approvals with occupancy certificates and property tax assessment.
An experimental study of accepting online applications was started a couple of days ago by the GHMC’s town planning wing. Full-fledged implementation of online clearance would begin in a month as the municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) department is expected to issue the relevant GO in the next couple of weeks for the initiative.
GHMC officials said once the online application and approval system for building application starts, building permissions would be cleared in 15 days at circle and zonal-level (for buildings up to ground and four floors) and high-rise applications would be cleared in 30 days at the head office-level.
The corporation would use AutoDCR software to scrutinize and approve building permissions. Several municipal corporations like Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Nagpur and other cities have been using the same software for clearing building applications. The software has been customized to suit building rules in Andhra Pradesh.
Once building drawings and maps are uploaded for approval, the software reads and identifies CAD drawings and maps automatically. It then tells whether they are as per the building rules or not. If the building plan is not according to the rules, it rejects the plan and cites the reasons for denial. The software also generates FSI tables, fee, area statement table and other required data for ready reference.
Sources said there are chances of omissions during manual scrutiny, but the software scrutinizes them without any error and it would also put an end to corrupt practices. After the building plans are approved, emails and SMSs are sent to the applicants automatically.
“Section officers of town planning wing are being provided special mobile phones loaded with the software. Nearly 100 mobiles have been procured .The town planning staff visit the proposed spots for construction and take images of the sites at different stages of construction. These images are uploaded through the mobile phones by attaching them to the respective building files,” GHMC additional commissioner (Planning and Projects) Ronald Rose told STOI.
The additional commissioner said the GHMC has also decided to integrate online permissions for occupancy certificate (OC) after the building is completed with the software. The software will automatically check the latest images and point out whether there were any violations or deviations in the building. Once the OC is issued, the property tax will be assessed for the building.
The GHMC gives building permissions for about 10,000 buildings every year. The town planning staff has been taking several months for giving approvals to non-high rise buildings. For high-rise permissions, the approvals take even six months. “If there is any lapse on the part of the town planning staff, they will be penalized for any delay in approving building plans,” the official said.
HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad district administration on Saturday filed a criminal complaint at the Tappachabutra police station alleging that three tehsildars had carried out mutation of 12-acre land illegally in the name of private persons. DCP (West Zone) V Satyanarayana confirmed with STOI that complaint was received and they were in the process of registering case against the accused. “As per the complaint, the three tehsildars, who had earlier worked there, gave mutation to a few persons belonging to Bhavani Nagar by going against the Town Planning rules,” the DCP said. Of the three officers, two were retired.
During an internal inquiry conducted by CCLA officials, it was found that the three officials, with ulterior motives, went against rules and were accused of cheating, forgery and conspiracy.
HYDERABAD: Around 270 km east of Hyderabad, the city of Vijayawada on Wednesday witnessed an immediate ripple effect of Congress’ ‘Jai Telangana’ call. Owners of commercial spaces in the ‘land of victory’ were found quoting as much as Rs 50 per square feet (sft) for properties which, until a few days ago, were up for grabs at a meagreRs 15 per sft. Reason? The intense speculation about the city emerging as the largest business hub, if not capital, of the new Andhra Pradesh state.
Residential projects, which are currently hovering around Rs 4,500-Rs 5,000 per sft, are also likely to increase in the next few weeks, market insiders said. The expectation, they said, was rooted in the hope that corporate houses with operations only in Hyderabad would now look at suitable destinations in AP as well to expand their network.
“Considering that Vijayawada is centrally located and can provide infrastructural support to such projects, it only makes sense for them to set shop here,” said Rajling Gadde, chairman of Greater Vijayawada Builders’ Association. He even argued that the city, by virtue of its geographical location, was sure to edge out other contenders like Visakhapatnam, Ongole and Tirupati in the race for the capital city status.
Developers across the Andhra region agree that the Vijayawada-Guntur belt has the potential to grow as the next ‘hot’ real estate destination after Hyderabad
. This, as the area is not only well-connected to other areas but also has a thick presence of educational institutions, three major power stations and expansive automobile and tobacco manufacturing units. “We had anyway withdrawn our operations from Hyderabad over the last six months owing to a severe slump in the local market. Now we are gearing up to focus on the Vijayawada-Guntur stretch along with sites in and around Vizag,” said P Venkata Ramana, proprietor of Vizag-based PVR Builders.
Meanwhile, even as Vijayawada seems to be leading the race, market analysts in Hyderabad feel that the final results will be out only when divided AP formally decides on a capital city. “It is true that the new capital will see real estate players trooping in large numbers. But if that’s going to be Vijayawada or not will be known only after an official decision on the issue,” said city realtor D Sreedhar Reddy., adding: “I personally would put my money on Vizag as it has the advantage of a port and a thriving industrial setup.” Reddy, however, agreed that the city may lose out to its fellow ‘contestants’ because of its disadvantageous location.