HYDERABAD: The Conference of Parties, Convention on Bio-Diversity (CoP-11), to be held in October this year is already raising a few eyebrows, not least because of the Rs 400-cr budget earmarked for it by the GHMC but also due to concerns that the city beautification programme may derail the metro rail works.
Majid Mohammad Hussain, Mayor, GHMC, is, however, confident that the mega project will not hinder metro rail works. During a freewheeling chat with City Express, he allays fears of a Commonwealth Games-type corruption and asserts that the CoP is a chance to improve the image of not only Hyderabad but also the State.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q) What does CoP-11 hold for Hyderabad, in terms of global exposure and infrastructure development?
a) The event should not be seen as a chance to showcase Hyderabad alone. It’s an apt venue to showcase the entire state, and exhibit our culture and region to more people. Work has to be started as soon as possible, and we are very serious about it. We will especially look to improve heritage sites, apart from road infrastructure and improving roadside greenery. As of now, we are awaiting release of funds from the state government, even as primary survey and site study works have begun in parallel.
Q) Do you fear a tense and negative buildup to the event, a la the recent Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi?
b) Corruption will not be tolerated and there will be total transparency in all contracts awarded. We have only two months more to finish all beautification and related works before the monsoons arrive in June. So either we do it, or we don’t. But we will avoid taking a risk, if we feel the completion date will extend up to the last minute. I can assure you the CoP beautification and infrastructure development works will not turn out to be another last minute effort like the Commonwealth Games.
Q) What is your reaction to reports that the works assigned for CoP would delay the ongoing Metro Rail project?
c) Only around 10-15% of the area we have earmarked for CoP falls under the proposed route for the first phase of the Metro Rail. So the worries are misplaced. Also Metro Rail works will not undo the beautification programme, ensuring funds allotted for CoP will not go wasted.
Q) Will the UN (which organises the event), be giving any sort of grant for the programme?
d) No. The corporation is not entitled to receive any sort of grant from the United Nations to develop the city for the event. As per prescribed guidelines, the UN will only manage and finance the venue, while all finance for beautification and related off -venue works, have to be borne by the respective government.