HYDERABAD: KBR Walkway, a major important green space located in the heart of the city is going to shrink by more than half thanks to the ambitious Strategic Road Development Plan (SRDP) of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
For staying physically fit and healthy, hundreds of people take the walkway around the Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park in Jubilee Hills for morning or evening walk or jogging everyday. The walkway was developed by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) in 2000 at a cost of around Rs 10 crore.
About half of the walkway is going to vanish if the project takes shape. Of the 24 acres of walkway covering a length of about 5.50 km and a width of 20 metres around the KBR National Park, HMDA has been asked to hand over 13 acres to GHMC for the road project.
The corporation has planned six junctions around the park and widening and strengthening of the existing at-grade peripheral and radial roads. These are KBR Park Entrance Junction, Maharaja Agrasen Junction (Road No.12 Junction), Cancer Hospital Junction (Road No.10 Junction), Film Nagar, Road No.45 Junction and Jubilee Hills Check-post Junction.
The GHMC invited tenders last week for the packages under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) on turnkey basis.
Along the walkway, the well-developed greenery is maintained by HMDA by incurring Rs 5 lakh every month. About 40 to 45 workers are employed by HMDA to maintain the walkway. Annually, it spends over Rs 50 lakh on maintenance of the walkway.
Initially, the GHMC, through the state government, asked HMDA to hand over a significant portion of the walkway but HMDA opposed it tooth and nail. Only after a stiff resistance from senior officials of HMDA, the extent of land to be surrendered was reduced to about 13 acres. If SRDP project is executed, there may be stiff resistance from walkers, and environmentalist may cry foul over loss of greenery.
Official sources told Express that the width of the walkway is about 20 metres. Of it, about 5 metres is developed into walkway and joggers track and greenery raised in the remaining 15 metres so that walkers can enjoy nature’s beauty.
They said the GHMC had sought surrender of a 9-metre-wide walkway running to a length of a few hundred metres for widening and strengthening the existing at-grade peripheral and radial roads. On some stretches they sought 5 to 8 metres and 1-2 metres on some others. Overall, 13 acres of the total 24-acre length of the walkway will be used for SRDP project.
When the State is trumpeting the promotion of greenery by launching Harita Haaram programme by chief minister KCR, it is unfortunate that over half the green lung will be wiped out.