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Infra Vaani | Golkonda to Cyberabad: The Calculus of Infrastructure Growth and Decay Defines Hyderabad

By: Akhileshwar Sahay

News18.com

Last Updated: August 14, 2022, 20:16 IST

New Delhi, India

By 1947, the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, with a 1 million population, were amongst India’s better-endowed well-managed cities, writes Sahay. (News18 File)

By 1947, the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, with a 1 million population, were amongst India’s better-endowed well-managed cities, writes Sahay. (News18 File)

To retain its position as socio-economic magnet, Hyderabad must score ruthlessly, and eradicate from its body fabric the curse of entrenched corruption

infra vaani
In Infra Vaani, noted urban infra expert Akhileshwar Sahay dissects infrastructural challenges of Indian cities and offers solutions. This week, he looks at Hyderabad.

BOOM, BUST, BOOM

Hyderabad has millennium-long history of ‘boom, bust, boom’. After Chalukyas’ fall in 1075 AD, Kakatias constructed the Golkonda Fort and the city around it boomed. It was bust time in 1321 AD when Muhammad Bin Tughluq’s army captured Golkonda. After the treaty in 1364 AD, Golkonda blossomed under Bahmani Sultanate with Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (1487-1543) as the governor.

In 1538, Quli broke away from the Sultanate and established Qutb Shahi dynasty, with Golkonda as its capital. In 1590, the Qutb Shahi dynasty shifted its capital to Hyderabad – 8km South of Golkonda, in the East of Musi River and Hyderabad boomed as diamond and pearl trade centre.

The bust came again in 1687, when Aurangzeb captured Golconda and Hyderabad.

But in 1724, the Nizams snatched Hyderabad from Mughal and thereafter aligned with the British, making Hyderabad India’s largest princely state with own currency, mint, postal system, and railways.

Post-independence, the Nizams briefly resisted joining India, but the swift army operation sealed the fate.

By 1947, the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, with 1 million population, were amongst India’s better-endowed well-managed cities.

‘BYE BYE BANGALORE, HELLO HYDERABAD!’

Today, Hyderabad is booming again.

The latest boom began in the 1990s, under tech-savvy Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu, powered by his slogan– ‘Bye Bye Bangalore, Hello Hyderabad’

Naidu made Hyderabad the hub of IT, pharma, research, and education, catapulting it to high growth trajectory. And ‘Time’ magazine aptly wrote: “In just five years, Naidu has turned an impoverished, rural backwater place into India’s new information-technology hub”

To fast-track growth, Naidu also prioritised city infrastructure upgradation — roads, urban infrastructure, metro-rail, modern airport, telecommunications and fast connectivity from city to the airport.

The city has grown further under successors of Naidu, including after carving out of Telangana as a separate state.

ALL IS NOT WELL?

With so much going, all must be well with the city, but I submit not really. Hyderabad has its own infra woes.
This article creates a balance-scorecard of Hyderabad infrastructure on what is good and what is not and provides pathways for sustainable solutions.

ROMANCING HYDERABAD

I begin with my own romance with the twin-cities that began in 1980s. Firstly, in 1981, when I reached High-Cliff, Begumpet, Hyderabad campus of State Bank Staff College, as an SBI probationer and secondly, in 1986, when I landed at ‘Rail Nilayam’, Secunderabad, for training as a railway officer.

With two million population, then Hyderabad and Secunderabad were on the upswing, with one part grounded in its unique history and culture, while the other slowly waking up to modernity.

Thereafter I continued returning to the city at frequent intervals as an infrastructure consultant. By the time, when on a sultry summer day of July 29, 2016, I returned after 35 years to my alma-mater ‘State Bank Staff college’ to give a talk on ‘Opportunities, Challenges and Risks in Financing Railway, Highway and Metrorail infrastructure’ to the leadership team of State Bank in the conclave of its Corporate Business Group (CBG), Hyderabad, Hyderabad had reinvented itself and was booming again.

Firstly, in its western periphery had arrived a new 52-sq km sub-city named Cyberabad, which was home to global IT firms and research institutions. The city also had turned it into hub of pharma majors and educational institutions.

Secondly, post-merger of 12 municipalities and 8 panchayats to create Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) in 2007, the city population had jumped from 4.5 million to 6.7 million and area from 172 sq km to 650 sq km.

Thirdly, Hyderabad had turned into fastest growing Indian cities — preferred best place to live, work, invest and retire — and was ranked high on ease of doing business. As per Brookings’ ‘Global Metro Monitor (2018) survey of 300 global cities, Hyderabad was the world’s 14th fastest growing city with regards to employment and GDP growth.

Fourthly, by 2021, when I landed to work in a Hyderabad-based rail and metro rail consulting major, BARSYL, the city had turned into India’s fourth most populous metropolis with close to 11 million population. Also, the Oxford Economics (2020) had ranked the city as the fourth fastest growing city in the world.

Unsurprisingly then, growing fast in circular pattern in all directions, in the next two years, Hyderabad is likely to get past Kolkata; in five years, past Chennai, in 10 years, past Bengaluru and in 15 years, past Mumbai as the second-most populous Indian metropolis after Delhi.

Hyderabad’s population growth is also likely to be matched by its GDP growth.

It is natural then the city has turned into India’s fastest growing real estate market. In 2021 it absorbed 6 million sq ft commercial space, the highest among metropolises. In 2021, the residential rates in Hyderabad jumped 3% to 5%, highest among major cities.

Such frenzy of residential, commercial, and institutional real estate development without commensurate infrastructure creation does not bode well for the city.

Hyderabad infrastructure saga is a complex story of ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’.

THE TICKING BOMB

Hyderabad’s population between 1900 and 1975 grew slowly from 0.1 million (1900) to 1 million (1950) and 2 million (1975), but accelerated thereafter — 4 million (1990), 8 million (2012), 10 million (2019) and 11 million (2022)

In next one decade, the population is likely to cross 15 million, with one million added every two years.

The city’s population growth is partly organic and partly owing to spatial expansion, but its real growth driver is migration, people thronging for better livelihood and employment opportunities.

The population explosion has resulted in haphazard urbanization leading to extreme stress on city’s infrastructure, basic necessities and the habitat.

DISRUPTED HABITAT

The worst consequence of population explosion is the disrupted habitat and resultant mushrooming growth of unlivable slums.

The actual number of slum-dweller in Hyderabad is an enigma.

As per GHMC (2014) survey, Hyderabad’s slum population is 17.61 lakh living in 1,468 slums — 1,131 notified and the rest 337 non-notified.

On the contrary, as per the 2011 census, the city’s slum population in 5.06 lakh slum households was 33% of the total population. There is no official figure of the slum population of 2021, but other estimates put it above 40 lakh.

The growth of slum population is directly proportional to growing prosperity, development, and employment potential in Hyderabad, with the poor migrating for livelihood landing in squalid slums, bereft of basic facilities such as safe drinking water, sewage, solid waste and health facilities.

The state government in October 2015 unveiled the ambitious ‘Dignity Living – 2BHK Scheme’, to provide free houses to urban poor at a cost of Rs 7 lakh.

The scheme, touted as panacea, has failed on delivery. Against the plan to construct one lakh 2-BHK units in Hyderabad, in the past six years, the GHMC has delivered only 2,000, as against 5 lakhs plus slum households.

Also, ironically most 2-BHK units are getting constructed outside the city limits and lack in sanitation, water, school, hospital, transport, and employment opportunities.

THE INVISIBLE

Even slumdwellers have something to cling on to, but the homeless living in public places are its most invisible non-citizens.

The Census of India 2011 defines houseless household as “households who do not live in buildings or census houses but live in the open on roadside, pavements, in hume-pipes, under flyovers and staircases, or in the open in places of worship, mandaps, railway platforms, etc”.

As per the 2011 census, Hyderabad’s homeless population was 37,587. However, by definition, the number of homeless is impossible to count. Non-government organisations estimate the number at one lakh and by extrapolation, 2021’s numbers are close to 2 lakh, i.e. 2% of city population.

The destitute homeless are excluded from government schemes, branded illegal and frequently rounded off and stuffed in beggar homes and jails.

Also, the Telangana government is guilty of contempt of the Supreme Court, which, in 2010, mandated setting up one shelter with 100-person capacity for one lakh city population, which means Hyderabad must have 100 shelter homes as against the existing 15 shelters that can barely accommodate 500.

It is time now to move away from existing paradigm of the criminalization of destitution and move fast forward to provide sustainable solution to the problem.

DELUGE

2022, 2021, 2020, 2016, 2006, 2005, 2000, 1970, 1954, 1908 are years when Hyderabad suffered deluge, flooding or excessive rainfall, worst of which was the 1908 Musi River floods that killed 15,000.

Frequent deluges affect lakhs, particularly poor, kill many, cause immense damage to infrastructure and unsettle economy. In the past two decades, mayhem and fury of 2000, 2005, 2016, 2020, 2021 floods have caused huge losses to life, livestock, property and infrastructure.

But why such worsening deluges?

Firstly, the city population was 0.1 million over 54 sq km, when the 1908 floods caused havoc. It is now 11 million and 650 sq km. The city’s storm water drains, sewage networks, solid and liquid waste disposal system are century-old.

Secondly, the city has wilfully decimated flood protection systems created by Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan, with the help of Sir M Visvesvaraya, to save Hyderabad from 1908 type disasters — reservoirs 100 ft above the city to control flood by storing excess Musi water, two major reservoirs Himayat Sagar and Osmansagar and smaller 3000 lakes as water soakpits. These water bodies with Hussain Sagar were interconnected to keep Hyderabad “future ready” and “urban flood-proof”.

Hyderabad, like Chennai, has destroyed its natural flood water soakpits that absorbed excess rainfalls — lakes, canals, nalas, wetlands, and watersheds. A 2016 Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study found 3,245 hectares of water bodies vanished in just 12 years between 1989 and 2001.

Hyderabad floods, the nature’s revenge to the man-made disaster, leave the city inundated with even small amount of rainfall.

Thirdly, the Kirloskar committee constituted after 2000 floods, identified 13,500 illegal structures on 390 km drains as the key reason behind massive flooding. But no action was taken. Now illegal structures have substantially increased since then.

Fourthly, in 2007, the city expanded to 6.7 million population (from 4.3 million) and 650 sq km area (from 172 sq km) when GHMC was created. But no new storm water drains and sewage system were added. As such, a large part of city has no outlet to drain off the rainwater.

Lastly, the clogged stormwater drains and sewage system, with a large chunk of solid waste daily dumped in them, and fast-growing built-up area and concretisation of roads prevent flood water from permeating the surface and worsen frequent floods.

Every time, the deluge sets in, reasons are counted — unplanned urbanisation disregarding city hydrogeology, illegal construction over lakebeds and nullahs; destruction of water bodies; inadequacy, encroachment and blockages of stormwater drains and century-old insufficient sewage network.

But no action is taken.

Let truth be spoken. Nothing can save Hyderabad except integrated hydro-geological urban planning with laws to make it work and monitoring mechanism that prevents the chaos created by haphazard urbanization.

If the city does not wake now, the deluge of 2000 and 2020 will be dwarfed by more severe counterparts, whether it happens due to a bad day of monsoon, or due to depressions in Bay of Bengal, cyclones, or cloud bursts is a matter of detail.

PARCHA-BAD

In 1982, 1987, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, Hyderabad faced the reverse crisis of deluge, the drought.

Earlier, Hyderabad faced drought once in five years, but of late it has become more frequent and severe.

In 2016, Hyderabad turned Parchabad when for the first time in 30 years, four major reservoirs (Singanoor, Manjeera, Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar) that supply drinking water dried up leading to 50% demand supply gap. Despite tapping far-off Krishna and Godavari, the water supply reduced to 330 million gallons daily (mgd) against the needed 660 mgd.

In 2019 again, the water level in Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir over Krishna and Yellampalli reservoir over Godavari turned dangerously low, landing Hyderabad in severe water crisis.

2021 was crisis time again, as Hyderabad witnessed 278 dry days in the year.

The state has mega plans to make Hyderabad drought future proof, by bringing water from far-off Krishna and Godavari rivers. It is claimed Sunskila Intake Well will ensure no water crisis in Hyderabad even if there is a drought for five years. And Krishna Phase IV, V and Godavari projects will fulfil the city’s water needs for the next 50 years.

DAY ZERO

Deluge or drought, both bring along the drinking water misery.

Hyderabad gets 136 mm high annual average rainfall, but is still frequently parched. In 2016, it faced extreme water crisis due to repeat drought, deadly heatwave and all four key reservoirs drying up with resultant 50% water demand-supply deficit.

It forced citizens to desperate remedies — water tanker mafia, bottled water and aggressive resort to fast depleting ground water.

What is behind the water woes and what are the solutions?

Causes first. The tendency of extensive overuse, rampant wastage and high unaccounted for water.

Before looking at solutions, it is time to examine extant piped water supply situation, deficit therein and the role groundwater and tanker mafia play in Hyderabad water supply.

I begin with the crucial findings of a recent performance audit report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
based on March to August 2018 data of HMWS&SB.

The report found one, instead of national urban daily water supply benchmark of 135 lpcd, HMWS&SB at best supplied 66-71 lpcd water; two, 82% of domestic water connections had no meter; three, it was impossible either measure daily water take off by the water board or correctly estimate unaccounted for water (UFW).

In 2019, HMWS&S reaffirmed CAG findings that against 637 mgd water requirement, it was barely able to supply 459 mgd (70%). And once we factor 40%, UFW loss, HMWS&S water supply is less than 50% of daily water requirement.

When the crisis called for prudence to conserve scarce water, the state government doled out freebies with effect from January 1, 2021 – ‘Free 20000 litre (20 kl) monthly water to every household’.

And with freebies came the irresponsible spike in water consumption.

Circa 2022.

Water woes have further worsened. 24×7 pipe water remains a pipedream. Both socioeconomic and spatial inequities abound, destitute slumdwellers and homeless suffer the most.

Spatially biggest sufferers are peripheral areas, old city, Secunderabad Cantonment Board and ORR area.

Woes worsen with infrequent supply, insufficient quantity, reduced volume, low pressure, erratic timing, muddy water, contaminated due to mixing with storm water drain and sewage.

Consuming contaminated water often leads to people dying or getting seriously ill — latest such episode was in
April this year, when two residents in Madhapur’s Vaddera basthi died and 150 were hospitalized.

How does the government plan to solve Hyderabad’s water woes?

It claims that Hyderabad will not face water problems for 100 years as the water from Sunkishala and Mallanna Sagar will provide water supply to it.

It is a travesty that the state, after presiding over the demise of crucial water bodies which could end water woes, is busy bringing water from Nargarjunasagar dam (100km), Krishna (116km) and Godavari (186 km) rivers — exorbitantly costly solutions both capex and O & M wise including high water loss in the transit.

Despite such costly solutions, the drinking water demand-supply gap remains precarious, with severe strain on its groundwater. The result is Hyderabad has become a groundwater guzzler with complete disregard to its fast depletion, pollution, and future sustainability. It is estimated that 30-40% of total water needs are met by groundwater.

The ‘Composite Water Report’ of Niti Aayog has put Hyderabad on high-alert for day-zero, for running out of ground water. Likewise, the government’s report, ‘Dynamic Groundwater Resources of Telangana State -2020’, released in January 2022 declared Hyderabad as only district that is categorised ‘critical for groundwater’.

While the state pursues politically expedient high-cost options, it has turned blind eye to sustainable solutions — per capita reduction in water usage, drastic control of wastage, water bodies’ rejuvenation, large-scale rainwater harvesting and tertiary treatment of sewage to create reusable water for non-potable purposes

These are cheap, practical, and sustainable solutions.

THE STINK

Hyderabad is woefully short of the drainage and sewage network. Its sewage network was created in 1931, on the advice of Sir M Visvesvaraya, ‘for a city of 54 sq km area and 4 lakh population’.

The city population since then has multiplied 27 times to 11 million, and its area gone up 11 times, but its sewage and drainage system has largely remained unchanged. The situation worsened with the merger of 12 municipalities and 8 panchayats in 2007 and the further growth of the city in recent times towards Outer Ring Road (ORR) areas.

In the past 30 years, Hyderabad has added barely 100 km sewage lines.

First, how much sewage does the city generate daily?

In 2005, as per the City Development Plan, the total sewage generated in Hyderabad was 600 MLD, of which 133 MLD was treated in 2 STPs. By 2011, the sewage generated increased to 1,180 MLD with treatment capacity of 536 MLD in three sewage treatment plants but actual treatment of 426 MLD. By 2018, the sewage generated increased to 1,782 MLD. As per HMWSSB, the sewage generation crossed 1950 MLD 2021 with 772 MLD treatment capacity of 25 treatment
plants. By 2036, sewage is expected to cross 2,815 MLD.

Let me add two caveats here.

One, there is no reliable data of how much water Hyderabad consumes daily. It will be sum total of piped water supply, UFW, groundwater extracted, and tanker water brought by private suppliers from nearby areas.

Two, although the sewage generated ideally is 80% of water used, it is impossible to assess how much sewage the city generates daily, how much of it is treated and how much flows untreated to water bodies, lakes, nullahs and Musi River.

Due to suboptimal working of STPs, the bulk of untreated or poorly treated sewage flows directly via lakes, tanks, nalas and other water bodies to Musi River. The conservative estimate is 80% of untreated stinking sewage enters directly daily to Musi, making Musi, main sewer trunk line of the city.

While the existing STPs work poorly, if they work at all, the city has a grandiose Comprehensive Sewerage Master Plan (CSMP) to have before 2036, 62 more STPs with 2,057 MLD treatment capacity, costing Rs 8,685 crore, to make Hyderabad the only metropolis with full sewage treatment capacity.

I submit, the ground realities of the lack of financial closure may keep this mega plan grounded.

What Hyderabad needs is a composite pan-city futuristic plan that subsumes drinking water needs, storm water drains, sewage and solid waste management and flood protection system, to make it future-proof for 2035, when it is likely to become second most populous metropolis, next only to Delhi.

MOUNT JAWAHAR

The Municipal Solid waste (MSW), with 150 million metric tonnes waste generated daily, has already turned into a humungous urban problem for the country. Also, fast-paced population growth, changing urbanization contour, food habits and lifestyle changes all are leading to the fast increase in the per-capita solid waste generation.
Hyderabad is no exception.

In 2011, Hyderabad generated 3,500 metric tonnes per day (MTPD) MSW. Thereafter, it has increased at a faster pace – 5,200 MTPD (2015), 5,500 MTPD (2018), 6,500 MTPBS (2020), and 7,000-8,000 MTPD (2022)

Also, with the complex urban form — the core Hyderabad city, Secunderabad; fast developing Cyberabad and Outer Ring Road areas — it is tough to get the bottom of the Hyderabad solid waste story. Additional complications enter owing to near impossibility of waste collection from slums, door-to-door collection inefficiency, fast-increasing construction and demolition waste and special difficulties in estimation of waste generated in fast-increasing new colonies in peripheral areas and in areas around outer ring road.

Duly accounting for all imponderables, per day, Hyderabad waste generation is around 10,000 MTPD, which is 1 kg per capita per day, more than Chennai and equal to Kolkata and at par with many developed cities.

Where does Hyderabad’s waste go?

The bulk of unsegregated MSW gets dumped at 135-acre Jawahar Nagar, the solitary dump yard the city has. So far, 13 million tonnes have been dumped there since 2001 and 7,000 MT plus gets added daily, despite the dump yard exceeding its saturation point. As per GHMC data, on a November day in 2019, it collected huge waste pile of 8,200 metric tonnes in a single day, and via 18 waste transfer points dumped them to Jawahar Nagar.

Polluted air, soil, and groundwater around Jawahar Nagar, and the brutal onslaught of filth, stench, flies, foul smell and smoke emanating from the dump-yard has made living hell for 60,000 residents residing in 160 colonies around its 10 km radius.

Hyderabad like other metropolises faces twin problems — one, what to do with the legacy dump, 70-80 metres high hillock of 13 million tonnes accumulated waste and two, what to do with 7,000 tonne waste dumped every day.

The city tried to solve the legacy problem by capping it at a cost of hundreds of crores, but the solution was not accepted by the National Green Tribunal, which has mandated biomining and bioremediation now.

As regards new waste coming daily, the only sustainable solution is gross reduction of solid waste generation and adopting 3R — ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ — principle of circular economy. Only the waste that cannot be recycled should reach the dumpyard.

KILLER ALL THE WAY

Hyderabad, the fourth most populous metropolis of the country, also has the dubious distinction of being its fourth most polluted city.

As per Greenpeace Southeast Asia report, the air pollution was responsible for 11,000 pre-matured death in Hyderabad in 2020. Also, as per the World Air Quality Report 2021 by IQAir, Hyderabad air pollution is next only to Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

In 2021, PM2.5, the most dangerous particulate matter, was 39.4 5 µg/m3 against 34.7 5 µg/m3 in 2020, as against the WHO’s PM2.5 air quality guidelines of 5 µg/m3.

Also, 20% to 35% of PM2.5 concentration is directly or indirectly due to internal combustion engines of motor vehicles. Hyderabad’s 60 lakh vehicle population (90% of which is personal vehicles) is the main culprit behind the growing pollution.

These findings are also echoed by the Greenpeace (2022) report, which based on PM2.5 and PM10 data from November 20, 2020 to November 20, 2021, found that Hyderabad’s PM10 level was seven times of WHO prescribed guidelines, while PM2.5 was seven to eight times more.

Also referring to the CPCB’s past source apportionment studies, the Greenpeace report suggested 50% of high PM2.5 and PM10 pollution of Hyderabad was due to the vehicular pollution.

It is sobering to note that Hyderabad, which competes with Bengaluru as one of the two best destinations to live, work and ease of doing business, witnessed 13% increase in PM2.5 in 2021 over 2020, while the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) seeks to reduce PM concentrations by 20% by 2024.

The ambient PM2.5 is among three largest risk factors for deaths in the country. And the way forward to life away from air pollution is total movement away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Eventually, nothing short of Net Zero will work.

NEGLECTED FOOTSOLDIERS

In the 1980s, when I first stayed at Hyderabad and Secunderabad, even though the roads were narrow, they were pedestrian and cyclist-friendly and 40-45% trips where on bicycles.

Gone are those days.

With fast economic growth, the city has seen mad rush for motorization and developing road infrastructure to suit the needs of private cars which occupy 90% of the road space but cater to barely 9% daily trips.

In the process, the city has forgotten its pedestrians and cyclists making them most vulnerable on the road. The city is devoid of cycle lanes. And pedestrians either are bereft of footpaths, and where footpaths exist, they are broken, encroached by hawkers, or used for parking or are full of potholes or littered with garbage.

Unsurprisingly then, most accidental deaths on Hyderabad roads are of the homeless, pedestrians and cyclists followed by two-wheeler riders and pillions.

UNBRIDLED MOTORIZATION

Compared to the city area, Hyderabad’s road area is low at 6%, second worst among Indian metropolises. Also, only 1,000 km of its 9000km roads are arterial roads, the rest are lanes or by-lanes.

The road length in Hyderabad has largely been static, but vehicle numbers are growing fast, from 1.45 million (2001) to 2.5 million (2011), and 6.2 million (2021); two wheelers have crossed 5 million, growing at 3lakh annually since 2010 and cars above 12 lakh growing at 10,000 monthly.

With 1,100 vehicles getting added daily, the vehicle road density is worsening fast, leading to the vehicular speed dwindling to the horse carriage days, from 35-40 kmph (2011), 15-17 kmph (2016) and 10-12 kmph (2021).

It all leads to higher pollution, increasing road congestion and worsening parking woes.

PARKING WOES

With 6.2 million vehicles, Hyderabad already has more vehicles per 1000 population than Delhi, resulting in chaos, confusion, high-congestion, and severe on-street parking woes.

Whether it is the Old City or Secunderabad, Core Hyderabad or Cyberabad, Begumpet or Abids, parking woes are ubiquitous. A recent study says 50% arterial roads are choked with illegally parked vehicles—6,000 vehicles per km arterial roads and 600 per km, including all lanes and bylanes.

With 1,100 new vehicles getting added daily, the supply side parking solutions will not suffice. There is an urgent need for measures towards demand, including high on-street parking fees, lest soon the entire road length will be consumed in parking.

INSUFFICIENT

The Hyderabad urban transport is skewed towards personal transport. As per official data, two-wheelers (42%) and cars (9%) account for 51% daily trips, IPT and taxis 18% and public transport 31%.

The urban transport is poor and fragmented.

Its 2,850 buses (for comparable population, Bengaluru has 6,500) daily carry 30 lakh, 46-km MMTS, carries 2 lakh and 69-km three-line metro rail system carries 2.5-3 lakh people.

Clearly, Hyderabad has gone the wrong way and needs urgent rebooting to put in place its symbiotic sustainable urban transport with minimum 10,000 electric buses, 400-km multi-line metro rail system with enough interchanges with multimodal integration and appropriate first- and last-mile connectivity, including provisions for pedestrians and cyclists.

THE CURSE

A CMS-India corruption study (2018) found Telangana as the second most corrupt state. Also, another survey by NGO Youth for Anti-Corruption (2021) found Hyderabad as the most corrupt city.

Corruption encourages rent-seeking, makes city unlivable, stymies development and delivers poor infrastructure. To retain its position as socio-economic magnet, Hyderabad must score ruthlessly, and eradicate from its body fabric the curse of entrenched corruption.

Akhileshwar Sahay is a noted urban transport infrastructure expert and President, advisory services at BARSYL, a consulting firm. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication or the company he works with.

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first published:August 14, 2022, 19:58 IST
last updated:August 14, 2022, 20:16 IST