HYDERABAD: J Shyamala Rao's appointment as metropolitan commissioner of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority is likely to kick up a controversy.
As per the HMDA Act, the metropolitan commissioner's post is to be held by an officer of the rank of principal secretary or secretary. Shyamala Rao is a joint secretary level officer and does not qualify for the post. The government is thinking of downgrading the post by amending the HMDA Act to accommodate the junior-level officer.
HMDA, formed by a legislation in 2008, has jurisdiction over an area of 7,228 sq km spread over five districts. It is the second largest urban development area in the country after Bangalore (8,005 sq km).
HMDA was formed by merging the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Hyderabad Airport Development Authority (HADA), Cyberabad Development Authority (CDA) and Buddha Poornima Project Authority (BPPA). Its jurisdiction extends to 55 mandals in five districts: Hyderabad (all 16), Medak (part, 10), Rangareddy (Part, 22), Mahaboobnagar (Part, 2) and Nalgonda (Part, 5).
HMDA was set up for planning, coordinating, supervising, promoting and securing planned development of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Region. It coordinates the development activities of the municipal corporations, municipalities and other local authorities, the Water Supply & Sewerage Board, AP Transco, APIIC, APSRTC and other such bodies. Coordination with so many bodies will be possible if a principal secretary level officer is appointed.
Rao's appointment has caused heartburn among senior officials as well as HMDA officials. They are questioning the rationale behind Rao's appointment. Four senior officials have failed in their efforts to land the post. HMDA officials contend that joint secretary cadre officer will find it difficult to manage the authority.
HMDA has several projects on hand such as the Outer Ring Road, Hussainsagar Lake and Catchment Area Improvement Project (HCIP), Comprehensive Transportation Study (CTS), Development of Logistics Parks at Batasingaram and Mangalapally, and Inter City Bus Terminus at Miyapur, construction of flyovers, road overbridges, preparation of draft master plan for extended area of HMDA.