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Road widening at whose cost? City Pulse

Secunderabad Cantonment Board road-widening begins in early 2008



Regular spectacle: Traffic comes to a grinding halt on the Paradise-Cantonment road in Secunderabad.

HYDERABAD: Diamond Point Café will soon disappear. So will a few other landmark buildings in Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) when road-widening begins in early 2008. The landscape along some major corridors will transform when the project comes through to provide for more traffic carriageway.

Everyone seems to agree that widening is unavoidable yet citizens, specially affected property owners want the proposed road widths to be reduced, suggest widening only a few, improve junctions and try out one-ways. Including two public representatives, several people have questioned the project, wondering if it was worth the effort.

The SCB is convinced though. In fact officials say it is long overdue, considering that infrastructure is bursting at its seams due to the population influx and increase in traffic.

Changing lifestyles

“From just 10,000, population is today about five lakh and 20,000 vehicles are added to the roads, monthly. Vehicles simply do not have space to move these days, with changing lifestyles. Can SCB handle the infrastructure load? It is inevitable considering the city’s growth”, says Defence Estates Officer, S. Balakrishna.

Property owners have their own take. “There is no need for demolitions as there is space on the sides. Why can’t they work without affecting our properties,” pleads Abid, a resident. “Widening is good but has a human angle”, urges ex-serviceman Bhalla. “It is difficult to acquire or re-do my property at this age. We have built homes with lifetime’s savings”, bemoans Rajasekhar.

Most roads have varying widths between 25 ft and 100 ft. Three-fourths of the population rely on personal vehicles. Some junctions like Bowenpally, Tadbund and Diamond Point have a vehicular flow from 60,000 to a lakh daily.

Scientific study

“We have made road development plans based on a scientific study. Roads identified for work are not only the main roads for Cantonment residents but also link suburbs of Kapra, Alwal and Malkajgiri. We cannot be isolated from the rest of the city”, affirms SCB’s Chief Executive Officer V. Premchand, the man in the hot seat.

JNTU’s transportation wing has done detailed road network and traffic characterisation studies including volume count, destination survey, road safety audit, land use pattern, priority link roads and demand estimations. It identified 23 corridors and 12 junctions for facelift suggesting 100 ft road widths.

It also recommended parking regulation on main roads and develop service lanes, road marking, footpaths, foot-over-bridges and restrict commercial activity to main roads.

SCB has identified eight roads in Phase One - with four to be done by HUDA. They include Sikh Village, Mahendra Hills-Bison Gate, Sec’bad Club-Safilguda, Bapujinagar-Hashmathpet, Tadbund-Mastan Café, Karkhana Police Station-Diamond Point, Tadbund-Bapujinagar, Trimulgherry-R.K. Puram.

“Many properties on these roads have already turned commercial and will soon be declared so, in the development plan. We have already reduced the width to save properties but 70 ft is an absolute necessity”, says Mr. Premchand.

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