HYDERABAD: The Charminar Pedestrianisation Project was conceived by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), with an aim to beautify the surrounding areas of the iconic monument and securing its structural stability. GHMC’s plans include making alternative arrangements for the rehabilitation of displaced vendors, and also the Charminar police station located close to the monument. Further, other heritage buildings in the neighbourhood will be given a facelift, keeping in mind the experience of tourists and visitors. However, the GHMC’s elaborate plans seem to have missed out on the concerns of the locals living in the areas.
With the surrounding areas cordoned off with barricades and the movement of vehicles restricted in the CPP limits, it is the permanent residents who have been affected the most, as their everyday movements are restricted.
Syed Ibrahim, the mutawali of Charminar’s neighbouring masjid, the Jama Masjid— which is also the oldest mosque in the city—said, “We don’t have any parking space in front of our house. But visitors always park their vehicles in front of our houses, making it difficult for us to move out.”
In fact, the problem of parking has been an ongoing one, ever since the CPP began. Although, there are plans to construct multi-level parking for visitors, residents, and tourists, but until that happens, four-wheeler parking remains the cause of greatest struggle. Initially, the CPP provisions allowed the traffic police to park in front of the Gulzar Houz area. However, with the ongoing works, the area has also been barricaded.
Another major problem arises for locals is in the movement of emergency vehicles. “A few months back there was a minor fire in one of the jewellery shops, beside the Charminar police station,” said Sanjay Shukla, a shop owner and resident of Charminar. “It took a long time for fire service to reach over here because of the barricades and the restriction,” he added. Earlier, there used to be a 108 ambulance in front of the Charminar Traffic Police Station, but now that has also been moved out.