HYDERABAD : Jubilee Hills is the address for success and the dream to dream. Sandwiched between the affluent Banjara Hills and the bustling tech hub of HITEC City, rests one of Asia’s most expensive residential and commercial pockets which is home to the rich and elite of South India. From movie stars to politicians, corporate honchos to bureaucrats, the cream of the society dwells in pride and luxury in 500033 a pincode that is synonymous with class and flamboyance.
But here, all that glitters is not gold. This plush neighbourhood reeks of land scams, misuse of power and deep-rooted corruption, to which most of the residents are unforgivingly aloof. While on one hand land sharks gobble up green spaces, on the other, the Jubilee Hills Cooperative House Building Society (JHCHBS) Limited probably one of the richest housing societies in the country with 1,167.27 acres under it struggles to keep up with the times.
It has been in poor shape all these years despite the who’s who of AP and Telangana being a part of it. Film director Trivikram, actors Venkatesh, Chiranjeevi and Srikanth, producers Chinna Babu (Harika Hasini Creations), Dil Raju and KS Ramarao, Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar, MLC S Vani Devi, JC Pavan Reddy (son of JC Diwakar Reddy), former-Union Minister MM Pallam Raju, YSRC MLA Silpa Chakrapani Reddy, late Prime Minister PV Narasimharao’s grandson NV Subhash and AP BJP leader Kanna Lakshminarayana, among others, are some of the members.
The society, which was was established under the provisions of the State Co-operative Societies Act, 1964,saw a “true” election after 15 years, in March. “The earlier committee, which was in-charge of the society, never held a proper election. Everything used to happen within four walls and only a select few would be called to vote every five years. There was no communication between the society and the people. In fact, many did not even know that such a society existed until we started to campaign and demand for transparency in the society affairs,” says Ravindranath Bollineni, the newly elected president of the society.
Ravindranath and his team of 14 from the Jubilee Hills Welfare Society have a herculean task before them right from buying new chairs for the society office to retracing lost files, digitising information and letting the people know that they mean change. “In the age of technology, the society office accepts payments only through demand drafts or cheques. The residents do not have the option to pay online. And we call ourselves the residents of the most plush locality!” he says. But the newly elected members want to turn things around and they want to do it soon.
In their manifesto, they have promised to protect the residents’ properties from land grabbers, ensure smooth transfers, set up a single window process and develop an app for smooth communication. “There has been complete mismanagement of society affairs. People wanted to be a member only to wield power and for their vested interests, no one thought about the residents. Also, the cream of the society wants to be the cream only and not get down to the grassroots to fight for heir rights. But all this will change now. Give it a few months, everyone will see the difference,” says A Murali Mukund, the secretary who plans to draft a time charter which will specify deadlines for every task.
One can’t fathom how this plush locality has managed to live up to its glittery reputation all these decades, despite the basics being all over the place. Police patrolling is poor, ambulances are not readily available in case of an emergency and the roads are getting narrower by the day. “The idea of Jubilee Hills was to have a good society with world-class welfare amenities. But a handful of people have misused the location and taken it 30 years back,” says VV Rajendra Prasad, a member of the committee and resident of Road No.1.
Meanwhile, Murali Mukund stresses the need for police and the government’s corporation to ensure that things change in Jubilee Hills.
Bang in the centre of Hyderabad, Jubilee Hills is dotted with swanky pubs, bars, breweries, eateries and cafes. Serving a wide range of cuisines to suit every palate in town, the hangouts draw crowds with live shows of music, standup comedy and even plays. “The reason why these establishments choose Jubilee Hills is because it is accessible to both HITEC City and Secunderabad. But now the area is hitting saturation, there’s no space and newer pubs/bars are opting for Madhapur. In 10 years, even Jubilee Hills will fill up, just like Banjara did,” says Naren Pal Singh of Brand Sardar, a consultancy firm
One man’s dream
IAS officer Challagalla Narasimham was the brain behind Jubilee Hills and the founder of the Jubilee Hills Cooperative House Building Society. He and his family are considered to be the first settlers of the area, back in the 60s when it was only rocks and boulders. “Today, Jubilee Hills is a melting pot of cultures. You have people from all over the country living here,” says Suneela Reddy, vice-president of the society
Don’t fall for its chic appearance. One of Asia’s most expensive commercial and residential locations grapples with land scams, misuse of power and deep-rooted corruption. But the recently elected committee offers a ray of hope; only time will tell if they live up to their promises
— Himabindu Reddy himabindugopinath@ newindianexpress.com @himureddy