Statues of various late personalities obstructing the smooth flow of traffic will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the recent Supreme Court orders. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits are dotted with statues, both of national and local heroes in memory of their contributions to society. However, lesser known leaders too have found space at many places in the city.
Statues of late leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Indira Gandhi, NT Rama Rao, Rajiv Gandhi, and Y S Rajasekhara Reddy are omnipresent across the city, often blocking the free flow of traffic.
A majority of these statues not just cause traffic jams but also pose obstruction to city development works such as road widening, junction improvement and construction of new flyovers, foot-over bridges.
As per the government orders, the GHMC is maintaining nearly 75 statues while HMDA takes care of four statues on NTR marg. Lakhs of rupees is being spent towards repairs, colouring, and flower decorations of these statues during birth, death anniversaries and on national and state festivals. There are at least 2,000 illegally installed statues in GHMC limits.
HMDA officials say that they have faced major problems while constructing the 11.5 km PV Narasimha Rao Expressway from Mehidipatnam to Gachibowli as half a dozen statues of various leaders were erected on the main road that hindered the work. The design and alignment of the Telugu Talli statue near Secretariat was changed because of the B R Ambedkar statue on Tank Bund Road.
In the last few years, GHMC has received around 20 applications seeking permission to erect new statues of various leaders. A few applicants who failed to get permission went ahead and unveiled the statues illegally.
The recent directions of the Supreme Court on this issue came as a major relief to the authorities. The officials welcome the order from the apex court stating that it would end traffic woes in the city.
The Centre for Good Governance (CGG) in 2011 has done a study on erecting statues on roads. According to the report based on observations made on the Hyderabad-Srisailam highway, the statues of various late personalities, usually politicians on busy roads, especially the narrow ones, are a source of traffic congestion.
The report states that many of these statues erected in the middle of the road and highways are not lit at night, a major cause behind fatal road accident. It also further states that the staircase attached to these statues occupy more space, adding more to the congestion.
The GO issued in 2003 clearly spells out that the permission for erection of statues must be given only in exceptional cases and they should not be installed at road junctions and busy traffic points, but it has been disregarded in several cases.
The CGG made a recommendation to the government to impose a ban on installing statues on roads. It further asked the authorities to strictly enforce the rule and treat any violation as a punishable offence.