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Building Regularisation – Concerns/Objections
Round Representation on master Plan 10th July 2007
Letter to Principal Secretary, MA&UD regarding extention of time for public comments on Draft Master Plan 2007.” Dated:7.06.2007
letter to Principal Secretary, MA&UD regarding Draft Master Plan 2007 Irregularities and Ojections.Dated:14.06.2007
Letter to Principal Secretary, MA&UD regarding Objections and Suggestions on Draft Master Plan 2007. Dated:15.06.2007
Letter from Principal Secretary,MA&UD to V.C, HUDA regarding Revised Master Plan for Non MCH Area of HUDA area call for objections and suggestions Dated:16.06.2007.
Commets on Hyderabad Revised Building Rules, 2006
LETTER TO CM DT. 25th December 2005 Rule of Jungle in Concrete Jungle of Hyderabad
NEW CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS - ENVIRONMENT CLEARANCE (LETTER DT. 16-09-2005)
Memorandum submitted to cm on cutting tress, widening roads(DT. 14-09-2005)
Representation to the Hon'ble Chief Minister on Great Hyderabad
Press Release DT. 03-08-2005
NOTE TO HON'BLE MINISTER FOR MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
74th Constitutional Amendment: Saving or Selling the Future?
Earthquakes, Skyscrapers and Deathtraps
SHAMSHABAD AIRPORT - Some Problems and an alternative Proposal
SIMPLIFIED BUILDING REGULATIONS
 

Commissioner,
Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority

Dear Sir,  Sub: Your Revised draft Master Plan for Core Area.

Our visit to HMDA office at Green lands to inspect Master Plan ( M.P.) displayed.

Some initial comments.

Our fundamental objection to the Master Plan remains namely, absence of any plan to spread balanced growth throughout the State and concentrate on Hyderabad, now further narrowed down to ‘Core Area’ concept. This approach can never solve the problem of the so-called core area unless this plan of the so-called core area is made part of the master plan for the entire state and as part of a M.P to develop anti-magnet towns and cities. Subject to this comment, some comments on details of the exhibits are made below.

1. Circle-wise maps have been displayed. We need to obtain a copy each of these with better resolution for close study. We also need a copy each of the earlier circle-wise maps to compare the two sets and locate the changes.
2. In the map of Circle IX covering Begumpet and Umanagar, the name of the ST Francis Girls’ college has been wrongly stated as St Annes College. Also, the Country club is shown as a heritage building in a residential zone, whereas the club is functioning on a fully commercial basis.
3. Land use zoning regulations are ambiguous. It is stated that “the uses are not to be treated as exhaustive”. Some ambiguity in their definition cannot by the nature of things be avoided, but further clarity should be tried. A few examples:
I) hostels & boarding houses : banks; post offices; religious premises; clubs; appear under uses permitted under Residential Zone. Whereas, Hotels, banks, guest houses, restaurants, boarding houses, colleges, religious places, post offices, religious buildings, clubs, appear under uses permitted under Commercial use Zone also. Hotels, religious buildings, restaurants appear under Multiple Use Zone also. We consider, some scale of operations be prescribed in respect of these uses which are common to under different different types of land uses, such as number of staff employed, parking space required, requirement for independent premises site, minimum plot size requirement, width of road, etc., should be prescribed for permission in each zone.

II) Terms such as ‘service establishments’ under Use for Residential zone , ‘offices’ under Commercial use zone , ‘computer software and Hard ware units/ITES/ IT enabled services’, ‘work centres’, ‘computer software and hardware units’ should be clearly defined. Are ‘offices’ permitted in residential use zones? What about using a part of the residence as a resident’s own use eg, in the case of lawyers, doctors, consultants, etc?

4. The requirement of ‘green building’ should apply not merely to new government buildings but to all new buildings above a prescribed square metres ( reference para 4 (v) on page 13.

5. Water Bodies Zone ( para 7 ): The term ‘construction’ not permitted in the FTL and the buffer belt around the FTL should be clearly defined as “ any type of construction, permanent or temporary , and using any material not necessarily cement”.

6. Sites specifically reserved as Heritage Sites: Item 9 A) i) should mention under ‘special exemption’ incentives for owners/users of heritage buildings and sites. An incentive package should be prepared without further delay on the lines of the recommendations made by INTACH Hyderabad, chapter on 11.3.05.

7. Parking requirements ( page 20), item no b): It should be expressly stated that built-up areas must provide for visitors’ parking, parking for non-residential uses, etc. As of now, residences , on the contrary, display sign boards stating ‘visitor’s vehicles not allowed’ and security guards do not allow visitors’ parking in the parking space provided in a premise and compel them to park on the road.

C.C to: The Commissioner, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad

 

Commissioner,
Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority

Dear Sir, Sub: Your Revised draft Master Plan for Core Area.

A large number of households do not have toilet facilities in their households, either individually or on a common basis. Particularly, migrant labour to Hyderabad mainly for construction work are not provided such facility either at their place of stay or during working hours.  Please include a plan for provision of ample toilet facilities to each household either on an individual or sharing basis. Also, for the migrant labourers at their place of stay and at work site. And fix a suitable norm for such provision, such as number of persons to be served by a toilet. Please let us have your advices in the matter at an early date.

 
Date: 29.12.09
To
The Hon’ble Minister for
Municipal Administration & Urban Development
D Block No: 345
A.P. Secretariat
HYDERABAD

Dear Sir, Sub: A stock-taking after expiry of BPS / CDS. Some observations and suggestions

A principal avowed objective of the CDS/ BPS scheme was to do away, once for all, all unauthorized constructions in GHMC / HMDA/ area and the areas of the other local municipalities, by regularizing those that conformed to certain prescribed requirements, and by eliminating those that did not, and to take effective steps so that in future, no further irregular construction takes place. Yet, a year after the closure of the scheme, we observe that this objective has been defeated. We make the following comments and suggestions re Buildings constructed in violation of the extant building regulations. In this connexion, we refer to our discussion with the Secretary, MAUD, cum Commissioner, HMDA on 10.12.09.

Observations

Suggestions.

a large number of buildings which are irregular, completed prior to the last date prescribed for applying under the scheme, have not been applied for compulsory declaration under the scheme. Most of these have got undetected.

 

 

Detection of all such buildings may be a Herculean task. At the same time, at least on a sample basis, some could be easily detected; For example, those that are located within an apartment complex where owners of some flats have applied for BPS, the others who have not can be easily detected. Also, whether such a building has any floor in excess of the sanction may be checked This will be a signal to others. Deterrent action can be taken in such cases.

A large number of buildings were completed after the expiry date of the BPS, in the hope that these would also be similarly regularized in course of time if a situation of fait accomplice is created for the authorities as in the past. New constructions are still being made in violation of the building rules. These cases have not been detected to any substantial extent.

It is possible to do so by reference to aerial maps which GHMC reportedly has on or recent to 15.12.08 , and compare them to their latest map, to detect (a) new buildings that have come up and (b) whether these are as per sanction. Even the height of a building indicating the number of floors could be ascertained from such maps. If such capability do not exist in GHMC now, it should be built within a specific time period.

GHMC often pleads lack of adequate field and office staff to monitor and detect cases of violation.

This may be true to a large extent. And the problem of "paucity of staff" will remain for some time. We have to learn how to maximize the effect of the resources. One way is selective and sample intelligence gathering, an example of which is given under the first suggestion above (namely, scrutiny of multi-storied apartments where not all apartments' owners have applied for BPS). Another way is taking of action with promptness in cases detected so that a message goes that action will be taken and many others are deterred from violating. A third way is to increase the network of intelligence through liaising with residents' organizations and forming ward committees. Finally, all complaints received from civil society groups/ individuals should be promptly looked into and action taken. This will have a deterrent effect on delinquents. At present the message on the contrary is that violations will go with impunity, and that complaints will not be looked into. This breeds a culture of permissiveness among builders/ owners and a sense of despair among sincere complainants.

Another plea taken, often rightly so, is that of interference by corporators, M.L.As, MPs and even Ministers, and higher officials in protecting violators selectively. Very often corporation is prevented from initiating legal action; This is indeed a real problem
A way to overcome this phenomenon is to bring such cases into the public domain. Here, civil society can play a major role. CSOs may inform the press, to make stories; confront the concerned public representatives/ officials by writing letters to them and asking for information even under RTI. C.S.Os may take up such matters with the party chiefs or the departmental principal secretary or even the Chief Secretary. Ward committees as well as Area Sabha Committees should be formed in the manner prescribed under GHMC Act. Municipal Act(s).
GHMC/HMDA may give such information leads through the aforesaid ward/ area sabha committees. The latter bodies may also review all cases of violations.
On the contrary, there is often complaint by builders that Municipal officers, particularly at junior levels and at zonal office levels insist on bribes even for clearing a plan prepared as per regulations. Also, they selectively inspect buildings where payment of bribe money is refused and overlook buildings where underhand money has been paid.

No action was contemplated in the earlier BRS / BPS or CDS against the builders while the builders are the ones who have actually corrupted the supply side of the market, so much so that for an honest buyer it is hard to find any building, which does not violate the building rules in some way or other, such as insufficient set back/ additional floor(s)/ pent house, etc. Further, the builders have cleverly built into their pricing the cost of forfeiting a floor kept under lien under G.O 86.
The Corporation therefore should have a mechanism to register meticulously applications for approval and monitor applications pending beyond one month. This list should also be placed before an appropriate higher authority to be prescribed and may be reviewed periodically (say quarterly) by the concerned ward committee..
The Ward/ Area Sabha committee should be carefully constituted as per provisions and so that they are bereft of partisan considerations/ vested interests and do not pressurize for payment of bribes. Levied as processing charge.

A suitable G.O. should be issued to take measures against any builder who violates the building regulations in any manner. To start with, heavy fine should be imposed equivalent to twice the value of the additional construction. There should be provision for forfeiting the license of a violator builder
Also, there should be a system of supervising all buildings above a certain value, and a good percentage (say 10 %) of other buildings, through authorized agents.

vii) It is not clear from the CDS cum BPS what action is contemplated in respect of i) those buildings that were not declared under BPS or ii) which do not qualify for regularization on payment of penalty, iii) or which have been constructed after the expiry of the last date of application under the scheme. Will these be demolished? Will they be fined at a far higher rate than that applicable to those that applied and qualify?
We propose following action:

i) Sample checking of apartments in a multi-storied complex should be conducted; the suitability or otherwise of regularization of deviations should be examined. If deviation permits of condonation by paying penalty, the penalty should be levied thrice the amount which would have been payable if the apartment would have been declared on time for regularization. In cases, where the deviation is beyond the scope of regularization, demolition of the additional built portion with fine plus recovery of cost of demolition, may be considered.

ii) It is not necessary nor feasible to do such checking for all buildings, but if sample checking on a random basis is done, it will have the desired effect.

iii) Buildings constructed, or additions made to existing buildings, after the expiry of the last date of application under the scheme should be demolished partly or wholly, covering constructions in violation of sanctioned plan, plus recovery of the cost of demolition and penalty for making unauthorized constructions.

iv) The High Court should be approached in advance to issue instructions to the lower courts that no stay can be granted by lower courts against an order of the concerned governmental authority and that such discretion will lie only with the High Court ( if such an order has not already been passed).
Simultaneously, the accountability of section officers, planning officers of the GMHC/ HMDA/ Municipalities should be examined for violations in their area(s) of operation, and an assessment of their performance made on the overall compliance with building regulations in their respective areas.

In this connexion, we have also to point out that the following undertakings given to the Court on behalf of the government, in respect of W.P. No 1069 of 2008 were not complied with:
Counter affidavit dated 9.2.2008 on behalf of Pr. Secretary to Government, MAUD: Paragraphs 4, 6 – a, b, h, k, m. 10, 13. In similar vein, undertakings dt 6.2.09 Commissioner, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation in 7. 8. 9. 1 was not complied with. We would like to have your specific comments in respect of such undertakings. The affidavits are copied and enclosed for your ready reference. The statements made by the Secretary, MAUD to the A.P. High Court in its counter affidavit dated 9.2.08 in W.P. No 1069 of 2008 do not reflect the true state of affairs and remain mere statement of intentions. For example, in reference to paragraph 6 thereof, in how many cases has there been any enforcement of the “stringent provisions” of G.O. no 86 dt 3.3.2006? Such as, non-connection of electric power, water supply, drainage & sewerage; inspection by Fire Services Department and abiding by their report; Issuance of occupancy certificate; “summary demolition” of violated portion of a building; administration of warning followed by de-licensing of habitual violator builders; check by Enforcement Authority against violations; constitution of Building Ombudsman? None of these provisions have been enforced, and there seems lack of a will to do so. The violation, contrary to the counter-affidavit dated 6.2.08 by the Commissioner of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation do “hamper the basis idea of urban planning”.

The whole exercise in BPS so far seems to be only a game for raising money, without fulfilling its ostensible purpose of making Hyderabad and the State clean, once and for all, of unauthorized constructions. Hyderabad continues to be infested with illegal structures. On the contrary, the BPS and its lack of enforcement has encouraged start of further unauthorized constructions as no substantial action has been taken against the violators in a visible manner. It gives a message that violation pays, as the cost of regularizing through penalty is less than the cost of violations and / or that violations will largely go unnoticed / unpunished. There is consequential damage to civic amenities, such as use of road, drainage, sewerage, water supply, open space, environment, etc. The balance between ‘compassion’ for the violators and the clean living environment for the law-abiding citizens has been lost in favor of the former.
In this connection, we refer to the Hindu report dated 30.8.09, captioned “Stop political support for illegal constructions – Builders have scant respect for regulatory laws: Supreme Court”, particularly paragraph 1 thereof. A copy of the news item is enclosed.

Thanking you,

 
Date: 24.2.2009

To Date: 24.2.2009
Shri V. Premchand
Chief Executive, Secunderabad Cantonment Board.
SECUNDERABAD

Dear Sir, Sub: Trees block SCB road widening.

We refer to a report under the above caption appearing in the Deccan Chronicle of date , stating , inter alia, that you may require to remove over 600 fully grown trees , some of them around 100 years old, along either side of the road from Mahendra Hills to Rashtrapati Nilayam and from Safilguda railway crossing to the Secunderabad club to widen the roads. We are encouraged to note that you are considering the option of transplantation and translocation of these trees as far as possible, and have provided funds for there for. Such translocation should be made as near the existing site as possible.

A copy of the press report is enclosed for ready reference.

In this connection, we would like to bring to your notice that as a result of protracted negotiations between us together with other civil society groups and the various wings of the state government, such as the R & B department, HMDA, HMWS & SB etc, and under the guidance of the State Chief Secretary, and the Forest department , an arrangement has been arrived at under which it will be feasible to preserve the existing trees while widening the roads. G.O. No. 539.Dt. 11.12.2008 lays down detailed guidelines considering all possible circumstances , in this regard. We enclose a copy of the G.O. for your perusal and request your strict compliance therewith.

In this connection, we also wish to mention that successful transplantation has taken plantation at Hyderabad at moderate cost. The particulars of such project (s) are attached.

We are sure you will take immediate steps so that not a single tree is felled along the route, and strict compliance is ensured with the above-mentioned G.O. Utmost importance needs to be given to conservation of trees. For any further discussion in the matter, please call us and we can meet at our mutual convenience.
.
Date: 24.2.2009

To
Dr.K.S.Jawahar Reddy, I.A.S
Commissioner
Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority
Greenlands Guest House, Begumpet
HYDERABAD

Dear Sir, Sub: Master plan for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area.

We understand that you have taken up the preparation of a master plan, and that the work of preparation of a plan is in an advanced stage. We consider that the concerned civil society groups should be informed and closely involved in the process of planning so that there is democratic participation in the process of planning and the inputs and concerns of various stakeholders and affected parties are duly factored into the plan. We are sure you will agree with this approach. A contrary approach will create problems for all and delay matters. We await your advices in the matter.

 

C.C to : Dr.  C.V.S.K.Sarma, IAS, Prl.Secretary to Govt.MA & UD., Secretariat, Hyd.
Date: 24.2.2009

To
Sri. S.P.Singh, I.A.S
Commissioner & Special Officer
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
Lower Tank Bund
HYDERABAD

Dear Sir, Sub: Master plan for erstwhile MCH area.

We understand that you have taken up the preparation of a master plan covering the area of the erstwhile MCH, that you have engaged the services of IIT, Kharagpur for drawing the plan and the work of preparation of a plan is in an advanced stage. We consider that the concerned civil society groups should be informed and closely involved in the process of planning so that there is democratic participation in the process of planning and the inputs and concerns of various stakeholders and affected parties are duly factored into the plan. We are sure you will agree with this approach. We await your advices in the matter.
Thanking you,

 

C.C to:
1. Dr.  C.V.S.K.Sarma, IAS, Prl.Secretary to Govt.MA & UD., Secretariat, Hyd.
2. Dr.K.S.Jawahar Reddy, IAS., Commissioner, HMDA, Greenlands Guest House, Begumpet, Hyd.

Date: 5.12.2008

To
Sri.M.J.Akbar
The Divisional Forest Officer,
Forest Department,
Hyderabad.

Dear Sir,
Sub: Annapurna studios, Survey no 403, village Shaikpet, Golkonda Mandal, Area: 22.03 guntas, Town survey no 1, Block no B, Ward no 9.

According to sources, Annapurna Studios is going to have a swanky new entertainment complex on its premises. For implementation of the project, the Studios reportedly plan to cut down the forest, known as 'Seven Acres', which is used extensively for forest scenes in movies. The Studios reportedly plans to build malls and multiplexes on that land.

Please let us know whether the studio owners have applied for any permission to you; whether you have given any permission to him or to anybody else for the felling of trees in the above premises, and if so, the details thereof, including any plan for translocation of the trees. Meanwhile, we request you not to grant any permission for felling the trees, and to cancel any permission if already given.

 
 
 
 
 
Date: 5.12.2008

To

Sri.S.P.Singh, IAS.,
The Commissioner & Special Officer,
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation,
Hyderabad.

Sir,
Sub: Annapurna studios, Survey no 403, village Shaikpet, Golkonda Mandal, Area: 22.03 guntas, Town survey no 1, Block no B, Ward no 9.

According to sources, Annapurna Studios is going to have a swanky new entertainment complex on its premises. For implementation of the project, the Studios reportedly plan to cut down the forest, known as 'Seven Acres', which is used extensively for forest scenes in movies. The Studios reportedly plans to build malls and multiplexes on that land.

Please let us know whether the studio owners have applied for any permission to you; whether you have given any permission to him or to anybody else for the felling of trees in the above premises, and if so, the details thereof, including any plan for translocation of the trees. Meanwhile, we request you not to grant any permission for felling the trees, and to cancel any permission if already given

 
Radial ring road survey by the Forum, NGOs , Forest Dept, ORR Engineers
The surveillance team observing the proposed Radial Ring road map
the team inspect the requirement of tree transplantation to facilitate Radial Ring Road
A tree, about to be removed with roots for transplantation
Tree with roots being shifted to transplantation site
A transplanted tree
29-08-2008
To
Sri K.S. JAWAHAR REDDY, I.A.S.,
The Commissioner,
Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority,
HYDERABAD.
Sub: Tree-cutting near Hi-Tech city junction for proposed flyover – Reg

Dear Sir,

We refer to the report in Times of India of 28.9.08, pages 1 and 3, stating that 15 pupil trees have been chopped off near the Cyber Towers in Hi-Tech city for a proposed fly-over. The trunks, however, still remain. Copies of the reports are enclosed.

We request you to immediately arrange for further suspension of the cutting.

In this connation, we wish to inform you that pursuant to our meeting with the Commissioner & Special Officer, GHMC following the felling of the banyan tree in front of the US Consulate office, the GHMC has suspended all felling of trees for which they had received permission earlier, and has refrained from felling any further trees. In one case, where some trees were felled due to non-communication of their instructions internally, they have transplanted the stubs. The Forest department has suspended all permissions earlier given and are not giving fresh permissions. GHMC has appointed a special experts’ committee to re-examine all approvals earlier granted and new requests proposed. The Forest Department has almost finalized their committee.

Pursuant to our subsequent meeting with the Chief Secretary, and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, a decision has been taken at the highest state level to give utmost consideration to the conservation of trees and that an expert committee will be formed to examine afresh all permissions already given or to give fresh permissions. Till such fresh permissions are received, felling of trees will be stopped.

Before applying for permission for felling of a tree, the concerned project authority must examine if any modification of the project can be made so as to save the trees, such as realignment of a road, relocation of a construction, redesigning, etc ( in this case the fly over). For this purpose, it may refer to a suitable technical committee, if it cannot decide on its own whether modification is possible, and where the concerned requisitioning authority states that modification is not possible. If modification in project so as to save the trees is not possible, the project authority will examine the feasibility for transplantation of the trees proposed to be felled. The cost of transplantation of trees should not be considered a bar and should be treated as part of the project cost. Only in the rarest of rare cases, will an application be made for felling of trees, after all options have been exhaustively explored. In those cases, prior compensatory plantations must be arranged sufficiently in advance, of matching species, in a proximate location.

All project authorities must incorporate tree conservation as part of their project plan and project cost and include it in the DPR.

Further, even as of now, WALTA 2002 and the WALTA Rules 2004 provide for obtaining of prior permission for felling of trees from the Implementing Agency, which is the Forest Department. Without obtaining such permission, tree felling is violation of the laws.

We, therefore, request you to immediately stop any further felling of trees for which you may have already obtained permission until such permissions are revalidated by the Committee. Please also appoint an internal committee to re-examine all such permissions after considering all options as mentioned in a preceding paragraph, and submit afresh applications to the implementing agency, Forest department. . Please strictly ensure against any felling without prior permission from the Forest department. Please instruct your officials and contractors to strictly abide by such instructions. Meanwhile, please do not proceed further by uprooting the trunks of the trees whose branches have been chopped off.

We request your full co-operation to conserve and promote the green cover of Hyderabad and the HMDA area

Yours Sincerely

VEDAKUMAR. M
President, FORUM.

Cc to: Sri. K. S. RAO. I.F.S. Principal, Chief Conservator of Forests, Sri. M.J. AKBAR, I.F.S. District Forest Officer, Hyderabad & RangaReddy Districts.
Top
Date: 1.8.2008

To
Sri K.Jana Reddy
The Hon’ble Home Minister,
Govt.ofAndhra Pradesh
HYDERABAD

Dear Sir,
Sub: Prevention of discharge of duty of GHMC officials by a group including two legislators – reports appearing in the Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and Times of India, etc.

We are shocked by a report appearing in various newspapers of an incident at Chapel road, Abids on 26.7.08, stating that the officials of the GHMC were prevented by a group of persons led by two legislators, from demolishing portions of a building constructed in violation of rules. One MLA fired two shots in the air from his revolver. This group blocked the road for several hours. Police let go the legislators without filing any charges against them on the plea ( as reported in Deccan Chronicle dated 28.7.08) that no civilian had reported to the police on individuals opening fire. Instead the police filed FIRs against the GHMC officials , including the chief city planner under CPC section 307 ( attempt to murder), 147 ( rioting), and 148 (rioting armed with dead weapons), read with 149 (unlawful assembly). Prima facie, the police’s plea for not filing charges against the legislator firing his revolver is untenable – we are not aware of any provisions of law under which the police was prevented from taking suomoto cognisance when the incident occurred in full view of the police and photographs of the incident appeared in several news papers the next day. Equally unconvincing appear the charges framed by the police against the corporation officials.

When wide publicity to the incident was given in the news papers for several consecutive days, the police booked a case (Cr.no.268/2008) against one MLA under sections of the Indian Arms Act, section 353 and section 506 of IPC, and nuisance case against the group of persons for disrupting the traffic, after having received a complaint from the GHMC officials. According to the police the case against the MLA was booked on the day of the incident i.e., 26.7.08 but this was reported in news papers only on 29.7.08. ( TOI dated 29.7.08). According to some reports the case was booked only on 28.7.08.

As you are aware, there is virtually no effective implementation of the Building Regulations in the twin cities and elsewhere. As a result, the state government had to pass BRS and now BPS, with a hope that hereafter there will be no illegal constructions in the city which aspires to be of world class standard.. Alas, if this is the fate of the law-enforcing authorities trying to perform their legitimate functions , and the law breakers go scot free, which official will hereafter like to perform? Besides, it is shocking that this violation is led by some MLA s who are supposed to make laws, not break them. Any public representative deserves our respect, but no one is above the laws of the land. For the sake of good governance, and to motivate officials and citizens to ensure compliance with law, immediate action is warranted against the persons who created the disturbance and violated the law. Action should be taken against the concerned police officials for failure to act promptly. We request you to order a high-powered enquiry immediately into the incident, and to make public its findings and action taken on its report. Unless these steps are taken, public officials will be highly demoralized and the public’s confidence in the administration will get seriously eroded.

We shall appreciate to receive a response to this letter
Thanking you,

 
Date:1.8.2008
To
Sri.B.Prasada Rao, IPS.,
The Commissioner of Police
Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad

Dear Sir,
Sub: Inaction of police against two legislators forcibly preventing discharge of duty of GHMC officials by a group including two legislators – reports appearing in the Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and Times Of India, etc.

We are shocked by a report appearing in various newspapers of an incident at chapel road, Abids on 26.7.08, stating that the officials of the GHMC were prevented by a group of persons led by two legislators, from demolishing portions of a building constructed in violation of rules. One MLA fired two shots in the air from his revolver. This group blocked the road for several hours. Police let go the legislators without filing any charges against them on the plea ( as reported in Deccan Chronicle dated 28.7.08) that no civilian had reported to the police on individuals opening fire. Instead the police filed FIRs against the GHMC officials , including the chief city planner under CPC section 307 ( attempt to murder), 147 ( rioting), and 148 (rioting armed with dead weapons), read with 149 (unlawful assembly). Prima facie, the police’s plea for not filing charges against the legislator firing his revolver is untenable – we shall be glad to know under what provisions of law was such a stand taken and why the police did not take suo moto action when the incident occurred in full view of the police and photographs of the incident appeared in several news papers. Simultaneously, the charges against the corporation officials appear unconvincing.
When wide publicity to the incident was given in the news papers for several consecutive days, the police booked a case (Cr.no.268/2008) against one MLA under sections of the Indian Arms Act, section 353 and section 506 of IPC, and nuisance case against the group of persons for disrupting the traffic, after having received a complaint from the GHMC officials. According to the police the case against the MLA was booked on the day of the incident i.e., 26.7.08 but this was reported in news papers only on 29.7.08. ( TOI dated 29.7.08).

The handling of the situation by the police officials was neither fair nor prompt.

We request you to take immediate action in the matter. We shall appreciate to receive a response to this letter.

TOP
Date: 24.6.08
To
Sri.Jagannatha Rao,
The Chief General Manager,
Outer Ring Road
HUDA, Tarnaka
Hyderabad.
Dear Sir,

We understand that a large number of projects for road widening, and other developmental activities, although sponsored by different departments, such as R & B, etc., have been entrusted to you for execution. Many of them for their execution, if implemented in a routine manner without any imagination and sensitivity, may require the removal of trees on the route / in the area.

Hyderabad is fast losing its green cover and the quality of the environment, which should cause concern, specially in the context of global warming, to one and all, more so to people in decision-making and authoritative positions. A good infrastructure is of no consequence if the environment is polluted beyond tolerance. In this context of the widespread felling of trees in the twin cities for road widening and other projects, we had taken up the matter with the Commissioner & Special Officer, GHMC, the Chief Conservator of Forests, the Secretary, R & B , and also the Chief Secretary. The Commissioner has immediately issued an order for his officials that all permissions received by his office for tree-cutting should be held in abeyance. The Forest department is re-examining the permissions already given and has kept in abeyance issue of further sanctions.

We request you to re-examine the sanctions that may have already been received by you for felling of trees, and defer action on all existing permissions received by you for tree-cutting. Please also refrain from applying further for felling of trees without exhausting all other options .
As a general rule, we request you to consider the following options:

1. Every effort should be made to bypass a tree as is done for sensitive religious structures. And imagination should be applied for re-aligning the roads, without decreasing its width. This is possible .
2. Transplant an existing tree to another location, irrespective of the cost. The technology and local expertise is available for such exercise which is not prohibitively expensive.
3. Before asking for permission for felling of a tree, every other option to circumvent the cutting should be explored.

4. Expert advice should be taken for this purpose.

5. To ensure proper application of mind, a request to cut a tree should be made by a high-level authority and not at a junior level, in a routine manner, as is now done.
6. A committee approach, involving experts and appropriate NGOs, should be taken for arriving at such decisions.

Further, we request you also to make an advanced planning for conservation of trees that would interfere with your projects. For this purpose, please
examine how your projects under the master plan, and those contemplated outside it, which take quite a few years to be finalized, will affect the existing trees on location. If no such scrutiny of the impact of your projects on the existing trees on the location has been made, in terms of the Master plans and your sub-plans, we request you to do so now and advise us.

Of the trees that would interfere with the projects, some trees can be transplanted, for others compensatory plantations can be taken up well in advance, and proximate locations of compensatory planning be earmarked as such, as essential part of the planning for these projects. This would ensure that replacements of the right species and age are ready when a tree has to be removed.

In fact, we insist that any planning should be holistic and should take into account the effect on environment and greenery, and how such adverse impact can be made up.

We request you to kindly take up this crucial exercise now in coordination with the HUDA/GHMC/Forest department.

We are sure that you have noted that the above suggestions are completely practicable and rational and easy to follow.

We trust you will take our request in the right spirit and take urgent, necessary action. We are ready for a further discussion with you. Please keep us advised.

Yours faithfully,

M.VEDAKUMAR
President, Forum For A Better Hyderabad
C.C to: 1. The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Hyd.
2. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Aranya Bhavan, Hyd.
3. The DFO, Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy Districts.
 
 
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Date: 21.6.08

To
The Chief Executive Officer
The Secunderabad Cantonment Board.
Court Compound, S.P. Road,
Secunderabad

Dear Sirs,

Sub:Road widening – impact on conservation of trees/Protection of heritage structures.

We refer to a report in the Hindu dated 21.6.08 ( copy enclosed) stating that you have received the permission to widen eight roads , of which two roads in the first phase will be taken up soon viz’, the 8 km road from Mahendra Hills to Military College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering via Military Hospital and another 5 km stretch from Safiguda railway station up to Secunderabad club via AOC gate.

You are aware of the Regulation no 13 of the HUDA Zoning Regulations 1981 under which no Heritage building ( HB) or Heritage precinct ( HP) can be affected in any manner by any developmental activity, without prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee ( HCC )appointed by the state government. Please, therefore, examine the location of HB/HP on the routes for widening, and ensure that the former are in no way affected. You may also immediately refer to the HCC .

We also draw your attention to sections 29 (1 ) and 29 (2) and also to 30(1) of A.P. Water, Land & Trees Act, 2002 and the Rules 2004, which state:

29(1) : “ Any person, institution, organization or department, public or private, providing a public or private utility service including Roads and Buildings department, Energy department of the Government and Telecommunications Department shall ensure protection of trees and their branches while developing their infrastructure or carrying on their activities”. This is not enforced.
29(2) : Wherever laying of new roads or widening of existing roads involves cutting of existing trees,, the Authority may issue suitable guidelines for protection of such tree growth as it deems fit.

30(1): The Authority may formulate guidelines for tree plantations along with the road margins, canal banks, tank-fore shores, and water bodies.

Please, therefore, study the impact on trees existing on the routes and you are required to protect these trees under the aforesaid Act and the Rules. In fact, tree conservation should be an integral part of your plans for road widening. For this purpose, as a first option, please align the roads in such a manner that the existing trees are not removed. Please examine this seriously and sincerely and if necessary, take the help of outside experts. In case this is not found feasible, as a second option, please arrange for the transplantation of the trees( 2(11) of WALTA) to a nearby location - technology and local experts are available for such purpose, and the cost which should be of no consideration, is not prohibitive. You may refer to us for contacts of such expertise.

If you at all have to apply to the Forest authorities, who are the Implementing Agency under WALTA for trees, for removal of trees , you may explain in detail the exercises you have undertaken before so applying Further, we request you, independent of our aforesaid representation, to plant a canopy of trees along the roads to create the much – needed green cover, as suggested in the Hindu dated 21.6.08 under the caption “ Line up the green goblins to welcome you”. A copy of the relative item is enclosed.

We trust you will take our letter in the right spirit and sincerely work to save the existing trees on the roads proposed to be widened. Meanwhile, please send us a detailed map of the routes of the proposed road widening.

Thanking you in anticipation

Yours faithfully,
M.VEDAKUMAR
President, Forum For A Better Hyderabad

C.C : 1.The Chairman, Heritage Conservation Committee for suitable action.
2.The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A.P.state government, for suitable action.
3.The DFO, Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy Districts, for suitable action.
4.The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Hyderabad, for suitable and immediate action. Such action should be taken before inviting tenders for the work and notifying changing the Defence land from category A-1 to C to permit widening.
5. The Commissioner and Special Officer, GHMC, for suitable and immediate action
Date: 12.12.2007

To
Sri Koneru Ranga Rao
Hon’ble Minister for Municipal Administration
and Urban Development
Govt. of A.P., Secretariat
HYDERABAD

Dear Shri Ranga Rao gaaru,

Sub: Building Regularisation – Concerns/Objections

We would like to take this opportunity to raise our concerns on the proposed Building Regularization Scheme being proposed and as per the news paper reports this scheme has been approved by the Cabinet of which you are a senior member. Sir, as per the same news paper reports we have come to know that the government is about to issue these orders to regularize almost all the Building Rules violations across the state by reinforcing the same through an ordinance.

As an organization which has been engaging the government and citizens of Hyderabad and surrounding areas consistently over the years on issues like Master Plan, Conservation of water bodies, pollution etc and even knocking the doors of the court as a last measure we are dismayed and deeply disappointed with the decision.

We fail to understand the reasons behind the decision. If the intention is to safeguard the rights of people in the urban areas of this state as is being declared by some quarters, we fail to see how this decision will serve that purpose. This decision of yours will, on the contrary put law abiding citizens in an unhappy situation and result in hardships to them. It will lead to increased pressure on Environmental attributes and civic amenities of cities which are already in a poor shape. An innocent law abiding citizen will be put into a proverbial pan-to-fire situation.

This decision will also lead to a situation where unscrupulous builders feel emboldened to persist with their illegal ways and continue building many more structures which are not safe and/ or healthy for the inhabitants as well as put the civic amenities under pressure. This decision will lead to more violations in the future as the state will be seen a soft state which cannot take harsh but necessary decisions and enforce the same.

We fail to understand how the government proposes to address future violations if it cannot address them in the present. Instead of initiating action against the builders as well as errant officials in the harshest manner possible to set the standards of administration really high it seems to have opted for an easy way out of the mess for which it is solely responsible. The bonus of hefty compounding fees seems to have been another inducing agent.

Sir, for a few hundred crores of rupees you are embarking on a journey which will forever condemn the fate of Urban Andhra Pradesh by designating it for a haphazard, unplanned, choked and dirty area to live in. The existing building rules are the product of sound scientific principles of planning and sustainability and play a major role in ensuring the healthy growth and survival of a city and its citizens. If necessary, the rules could be changed and made practically applicable. But, while keeping the same rules, accepting violations, now and then, make people lose faith in the rule of law. The previous attempt of regularization still remains unfinished.

In such circumstances, the judiciary also may not recognize such measures as legitimate, if we go by previous judgments. One of the most recent judgments by the Hon’ble High Court of Tamil Nadu in (W.P.Nos.18898 of 2000, 19998 of 2001, 24316 of 2002 and 17646 of 2006) has reiterated the illegality of such acts. In W.P.No 25011 of 1998 the Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh has declared that regularization scheme announced in 1998 in Hyderabad was illegal. Government in that case promised not to allow regularization in future. In CONSUMER ACTION GROUP -VS- STATE OF TAMIL NADU ((2000) 7 SCC 425) the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that BRS can be allowed only as a one time measure and cannot be continued in perpetuity.

In view of the above, we urge you to initiate consultations with the concerned sections of the society, i.e. the representatives of the residents, owners, builders, architects, town planning officials, police, before launching any new regularization process.

Thanking you,
(M.VEDAKUMAR) (O.M.DEBARA)
President General Secretary
Forum For A Better Hyderabad Forum For A Better Hyderabad
Mobile: 9848044713 Mobile. 098480 97188

CC to:
1. The Chief Secretary, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat, Hyderabad
2. The Principal Secretary, MA&UD, Secretariat, Hyderabad
3. The Commissioner & Special Officer, GHMC, Hyderabad.
4. The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Begumpet Hyderabad
5. The Director, Town and Country Planning, Hyderabad

10th July 2007
To, 10th July 2007
The Principal Secretary,
MA&UD Department
Government of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat
Hyderabad
Dear Sir,
Sub: - Objections/Suggestions on Revised Draft Master Plan in HUDA Area.
The Round Table discussion held on 9th July, 2007 at Institute of Engineers, Khairtabad from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the proposed Hyderabad Master Plan was participated by a number of Civil Society Organisations and Public-spirited individuals, discussed threadbare issues related to the Master Plan in the interest of the formation of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Area.

A power point presentation was made before the participants, to initiate the discussion. The participants unanimously endorsed the contents of the PPT. A copy of the PPT is enclosed.

The participants overwhelmingly felt that the process of Master Plan preparation by the Ministry of Urban Development, Govt. of A.P., is very faulty and undemocratic. We believe that there are several Master Plans in the HUDA area, some are finalized and some are under preparation. (Viz., CDA, HADA, forming MCH, HUDA, HMA, Cantonment etc.,) No Plan can be prepared for one particular area in such a situation.

The participants felt that the Master Plan should have a statement of purpose, vision, mission and objectives. Reference can be made to the recent MP of Delhi in this regard. The Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2021, put up for Public Notice ( the Gazette of India) by the Delhi Development Authority - ( See link http://www.dda.org.in/planning/draft_master_plans.htm ) has a written Vision and Policy Statement for development of the region around Delhi city ( for balanced regional development and decongestion of the main city ) and approaches adopted in planning various sectors, preceding the land-use maps, which is not provided with the Revised Draft Hyderabad Master Plan. The Plan published in 2003 also has not included the policy stating the direction of growth when compared to the topics covered by the Delhi Master Plan.

Participants felt that the state government must first comply with its undertaking for various measures of local self-government given as per the MOU with the Central Government under the JNNURM. There should be concerted pressure upon the government to do so.

Road widening plans should be undertaken after proper traffic flow study, and after planning for ample tree plantation in lieu of the fast dwindling but yet partially existing tree corridors along some roads which may disappear by Elevated Railways/BRTS.

The participants felt that the absence of a Master Plan permits all parties including the state government to take ad hoc decisions and actions. At the same time it should be framed in the proper manner.

We demand that the Government of Andhra Pradesh should prepare a Single Draft master Plan by incorporating all the existing plans (completed as well as those under preparation) in the coming 3 to 6 months. Such Integrated Draft Plan should be made available in English, Telugu and Urdu for individuals and the public so that meaningful suggestions could be made after public debate. This process cannot be complete without a regional plan for the area.

We also demand the Government of Andhra Pradesh take immediate measures to constitute Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) and follow the provisions of the 74th Constitutional Amendment.

Thanking you,
(M.VEDAKUMAR)
President
Forum For A Better Hyderabad

Mobile: 98480 44713; Fax: 27635644
E-mail: chelimi@yahoo.com

C.C to:
1. The Chief Minister, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat, Hyderabad.
2. The Minister, Municipal Administration and Urban Development,
Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat, Hyderabad.
3. The Chief Secretary, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Secretariat, Hyderabad.
4. The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Begumpet, Hyderabad.
5. The Commissioner, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Hyderabad
Top
Date: 7.6.2007

To
Sri.S.P.Singh, IAS.,
Principal Secretary
MA & U.D. Department
Secretariat
HYDERABAD

Dear Sir,
Need for extending the time for Public comments on the proposed master plan of HUDA.
We observe that the time of 15 days given to the members of the public to scrutinize and comment on HUDA’s Master Plan (MP), displayed centrally at HUDA’s office is too short and not fair to the public for whom the plan is intended and who will be affected by it. The time limit for inspection and comments must be extended . The MP has long standing implications, is central to all other development plans, and the approaches and decisions taken in the MP are usually not subject to change. The MP is of a strategic nature.
When the previous MP was displayed , it was displayed for comments for a much longer time. A printed version of the MP was also available for closer scrutiny. Finalisation of such a plan takes a long time as would be evident from the fact HUDA took so much time to present a revised plan after receiving public comments.

We have to point out the following further points in support of our request to extend the time for Public comments on the proposed master plan.

The public notice inviting comments has not been properly displayed by giving prominent ads in the newspapers and television.

The population of 65 lakhs has been given only 15 days (including holidays) to file submissions.

The maps of the master plan are being displayed only at one place for the public to come and see, which is a very centralized form of display and inconvenient to a large number of population. It is not a realistic approach.
The new Zonal Development Plan maps are not being sold to the public which means the people have little opportunity of going through the details at their own pace and place.

All the maps are exhibited on large display boards that make it difficult for anybody, particularly, the elderly/ physically challenged people to spend time standing in front of them to look at the particulars in the map in detail.

We, therefore, urge upon yon you to extend the time to at least three months. Please also bring out a printed version of the draft plan, within say two weeks from now, which can be purchased by interested persons and organizations for scrutiny at their own pace.
Many other persons and organizations, who are not members of the Forum have expressed the need for extending the time for inspection of the Master Plan and comments thereon

Yours sincerely,

(M.VEDAKUMAR)
President
Forum For A Better Hyderabad
Mobile: 98480 44713
Fax: 27635644
E-mail: 27635644
C.C: to 1. Sri.J.Hari Narayana, IAS., Chief Secretary, Govt.of A.P.,Hyd.
2. Sri.Jayesh Ranjan, IAS., Vice Chairman, HUDA, Hyd.
3. Sri.C.V.S.K.Sharma, IAS., Commissioner & Spl.Officer, GHMC, Hyd.
4. Sri.K.S.Jawahar Reddy, IAS., Managing Director, HMWS & S.B, Hyd.
5. Sri.R.V.Chandravadan, IAS., Collector, Hyderabad Dist.,
6. Sri..L.Premchandra Reddy, IAS., Collector, R.R.Dist.,
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14th .June 2007
To
Sri.S.P.Singh, IAS.,
Principal Secretary,
MA&UD Department
Secretariat
Hyderabad
Dear Sir,
Sub: - Draft Revised Master Plan – HUDA – Irregularities – Objections
Ref: - 1) Our letter to you Dt: - 08-06-2007
2) Memo No.9225/I1/05 Dt: - 26-05-2007
With reference to our earlier letter Dt:- 08-06-2007 we have requested your office to extend the deadline of the notice given to people to submit objections and suggestions to the Draft Revised Master Plan and have also raised some objections to the way in which the whole process is being carried out.

Sir, We have come across a glaring lacuna in the whole process in reference to the Memo No. 9225/I1/2005 and comparing it to the actual process and found out that the Maps on display at HUDA Premises in Paigah Palace, Rasoolpura, Secunderabad are only Master Plan maps. The existing Land Use maps are nowhere to be seen. On requesting for the same the answer we got was “They are not required to be displayed”. We fail to understand the logic of this statement. The Memo issued by you, which was referred to in the above lines in Paragraphs, marked as No.7 and No.8 clearly specify that the Land Use has to be displayed.

We believe that an Existing Land Use Map is one of the most important documents for people to compare with the Master Plan and try to understand the proposed changes and the impacts it has on the overall development of a Zone/Area. Without being in a position to compare the existing and future scenarios simultaneously how is one supposed to come to any conclusions and accordingly submit suggestions or objections to your office?
In view of the above, we request you to immediately display the Land Use Maps along with Master Plan, come out with a printed version and further extend the date by at least 3 months

Yours Sincerely,
(Omim Manekshaw Debara)
Secretary,
Forum For a Better Hyderabad.
C.C to: Sri.Jayesh Ranjan, IAS., Vice Chairman, HUDA, Begumpet, Hyderabad
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15th June 2007
To,

The Principal Secretary,
MA&UD Department
Secretariat
Hyderabad

Dear Sir,

Sub: - Objections/Suggestions on Draft Proposed Master Plan in HUDA Area.

Ref: - 1) Our Letter Dt: 07/06/2007
2) Your Memo No. 9225/I1/05 Dt: 26/05/2007
3) Our letter Dt. 12.6.2007
4) Our letter Dt. 14.6.2007

Dear Sir,
With reference to the above letter of ours and memo issued by your office, We have the following Suggestions, objections to the Draft Proposed Master Plan in Non MCH HUDA area: -

According to the provision in "The A.P. Urban Areas (Development) Act, 1975"

Chapter III 6. (2) (a) The Master Plan Shall - define the various zones into which the development area may be divided for the purposes of development and indicate the manner in which the land in each zone is proposed to be used (either after carrying out development thereon or otherwise) and the stages by which any such development shall be carried out.

The stages of development are not given in the maps we have seen at HUDA office at Paigah Palace Rasoolpura

In “The Urban Development Authority (Hyderabad) Rules, 1977” the following provisions are there: -

Rule 12. (3) Any Such plan shall include such maps and descriptive matter as may be necessary to explain and illustrate the proposals in the Master Plan and shall include a present Land Use Map.

Rule 12.4 Soon after the preparation of the draft (Master) Plan for the development area or any part thereof, the authorities shall publish a notice in Form No.1 appended to these rules in a prominent place in at least three local daily news papers inviting objections and suggestions allowing a period not less than 15 days from any person or local authority. The said notice shall also indicate the place and time where copies of the draft master Plan may be inspected. Any person residing or owning a property within the inspected area or local authority operating within the affected area will be entitled to represent in writing to the authority any objections and suggestions which they may have in regard to the Land Use Map or Draft Master Plan.

Rule 12.5: After expiry of the said period, the authorities shall prepare a list of objections and suggestions in Form No.II appended to these rules, to consider the representations so made within the time specified and any other information available to it and finalise the present land use map and draft master plan as it thinks fit.

Rule 12.6 The authority will then submit the land use map and the Draft master Plan to the government, as required under section 9 of the Act for their final approval.

Rule 12.7 After the governments approval the Authority shall publish a notice in a prominent place in at least three local daily news papers indicating the fact of the final approval of the Land Use map and the Master Plan and the place(s) and time(s) where a copy of each of the said land use map and the master plan can be inspected.

Rule 12.8 A land Use map and Master Plan published by the authority under Section 10 of the Act shall be conclusive proof of their having been duly made and approved. Such Land Use Map and master Plan shall have the affect from the date of publication of such notice and be conclusive proof of their contents. The Execution of the plan shall be commenced forthwith.

From all the above paragraphs it is clear that Land Use Map and Master Plan are separate documents and Land Use Map is one of the most important document and only on comparing it to Master Plan will we get an opportunity to understand the impacts of proposed changes. But the display in HUDA office is showing only Master Plan Maps and not Land Use Maps. This we believe is against the provisions of the above mentioned rules.
- The Other aspect is the constitution of "Metropolitan Planning Committee" for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area as a whole, in accordance with Article-243-ZE of the Constitution of India.

The "Metropolitan Planning Committee" for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area comprised in one or more Districts and consisting of two or more Municipalities or Panchayats or other contiguous areas, is to be constituted immediately in accordance with Article 243-P ( c ) of The Constitution of India, if not already done. Without the Constitution of the above
committee approving the Master Plan will be in violation of the provisions and spirit of The Constitution of India

Apart from the above specific points please understand that The Master Plan contains the Spatial Policies , programmes and guidelines to the executing and planning agencies in matters of planning and development, apart from indicating the existing Land Use and the Proposed Land Use , to organise environmentally sustainable future urban growth. T he Spatial Policies for the development will have to be looked into, taking into consideration the National and International standards and practices followed for urban planning and development.

Without coming out with a detailed book containing the above details including maps and other relevant data and making it available extensively as it was done in 2003, would be a gross injustice to the people of Hyderabad.

We have noticed that the Land Use Changes permitted under various categories since 2005 have not been incorporated into the Draft Proposed Master Plan Maps being displayed. We believe that this single decision of the authorities not to show the above mentioned changes has ulterior motives behind it. We demand that the authorities come out clean with an explanation as to why the process is being done in a hurry with incomplete details.

We have approached the office of Vice Chairman, HUDA with a request to grant us copies of the Maps so that detailed examination is possible and concrete suggestions can come from our group of committed individuals and organisations to make the Master Plan a well organised, thought out and people friendly, environmentally friendly document. We have been given a copy of Land Use Zoning Regulations, but they could not give us the copies of the maps and directed us to approach your office for the same. The letter addressed by HUDA is enclosed for your reference. We request you to please provide us the same and also a soft copy map of 1: 10000 scale of the Master Plan.

We reiterate on this occasion our earlier request to you, to extend the deadline given for Public comments and ensure that the people of Hyderabad are given every possible document/data so that an informed citizenry can make a well understood choice.

Thanking you,
With regards,
(M.VEDAKUMAR)
President
Forum For A Better Hyderabad
Mobile: 98480 44713; Fax: 27635644
E-mail: chelimi@yahoo.com
C;C to: The Vice Chairman, HUDA, Begumpet, Hyd.
Encls: 1) Our Letter Dt: 07/06/2007
2) Our letter Dt. 12.6.2007
3) Our letter Dt. 14.6.2007
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Letter from Principal Secretary,MA&UD to V.C, HUDA regarding Revised Master Plan for Non MCH Area of HUDA area call for objections and suggestions Dated:16.06.2007.
Top

Capt.J.Rama Rao VSM, FIE,
Indian Navy (Retd)


Tel: (040) 2332 1350
Mobile : 09393366000
Email: captjrrao@gmail.com
540, Road No.12, Banjara Hills
Hyderabad- 500 034

JRR /

2006 July 18, 2006

Vice Chairman & Managing Director,
Hyderabad Urban Development Authority,
1-8-323, Paigah Palace , Rasoolpura,
Secunderabad - 500 003

Sir,

Sub: Clarification regarding Auction of Govt Land by HUDA in Kokapet Village of R.R.District

Thank you for the Lr.No.8875 / Misc. / Plg. / H / 06 dated 17-7-2006 , delivered by special messenger on 18 Th July, in response to letter dated 6-7-06 on the subject.

The good work being done by HUDA, in respect of urban greening and measures being taken to protect some of the lakes, is very much appreciated. That is why HUDA is requested to examine that the land in Kokapet (V), proposed to be auctioned on 20 th July, does not fall within 10 km radius of the lakes and does not attract the provisions of G.O.Ms.No.111

The following observations are offered on the points clarified in the letter quoted above:

a) Annexure-I giving list of 84 villages: It may be mentioned that the list gives the particulars of villages falling in the catchment area of the reservoirs up to 10 Kms. from FTL of the lakes and does not contain the list of villages within 10 Kms radius of the lakes vide Para 3 (e) of G.O. 111.

b) Moreover the list of villages given in Annexure-I is only indicative of area covered in the catchment of the reservoirs and what needs to be considered is the area up to 10 Kms from FTL of the reservoirs, which can be more accurately assessed these days

c) Prohibition of Polluting Industries: The emphasis seems to be laid on Polluting Industries within 10 Kms radius, and the provision in Para 3 (f) -"There shall be total prohibition of location of industries in the prohibited zone" seems to be ignored.

d) As per Environment Protection Act, 1986, Environment includes water, air, and land and the inter-relationship, which exists among and between water, air and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, microorganism and property. And also the reference to industries includes other activities that have the potential to generate pollution, which is also
made clear in Para 3 (I) of G.o.111

e) NGRI report submitted in Surana oils case, categorically stated that Hydraulic Connectivity exists across the Dolerite Dyke located in the area, facilitating the ground water movement. In the post monsoon scenario, the ground water table will go up and thereby may result in more ground water flow across the dyke. This aspect needs to be looked into, before clearing any
activity within 10 Kms radius of the reservoirs

f) Even though G.O.111 stipulates that FSI be restricted to 1: 0.5 in the catchment area, directing HUDA to take action for the classification of the 90% of the area as Agriculture which is inclusive of horticulture and floriculture, according EPTRI report, about 200 Farmhouses are reported to have come up in the catchment area of the lakes, more than 50 % of which are used / developed as recreational / resort areas

Finally I would like to refer to the observations of EPTRI in its report on Ecology of Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar Lakes - "Though the engineered systems can only modify the capacity of a system, but usually result in continued operating costs with negative ecological impacts. It may be concluded that by saying that projected growth should be sustainable otherwise over-development will destroy the ecological conditions around the lakes with existing communities"

It is therefore once again requested to undertake an in depth analysis and careful examination of various aspects of the change of land use, likely to result in due over- development leading to ecological disaster, within 10 Kms radius of the reservoirs

Looking forward for an early response
Thanking You

Yours Cordially

Capt.J.Rama Rao I.N. (Retd)

Copy to:
1.The Chief Secretary to Govt
2.The Principal Secretary to Govt, Dept of MA&UD

Forum

2006 July 27, 2006

The Vice Chairman & Managing Director,
Hyderabad Urban Development Authority,
Paigah Palace ; Opposite Police Lines,
Begumpet, Secunderabad- 500 003

Sir ,

Sub: Group Discussion on "Environment Protection of Hyderabad "

We thank you for your Letter no. 147 / HUDA / UF / D5 / 2006 dated 26-7-2006, inviting for the group discussion on 29 th July 2006, of the issues concerning with "Development and Protection of Environment", like Greenery, Conservation of Lakes, Protection of Rocks etc in Hyderabad city

Leave Alone Natural Environment
What needs to be done first is to acknowledge that a system of natural ecological infrastructure exists every where, that it functions with or without our presence, and that when we interfere with its functions, the resulting effects are often cataclysmic- despite our attempts to reconstruct, duplicate or mend it. Therefore, it is in our best long-term interests to keep as much of this natural infrastructure -Water Bodies, Greenbelts, Conservation Areas, Rocks etc - as healthy and as intact as possible
Land Use & Environment


The other aspect is the quality of our lives is dependent on the quality of our environment, which is largely dependent on the quality of our Land-Use. Therefore the second and most important lesson to be learned , is the powerful influence that urban land use planning has on quality of our natural environment

Master Plan & Land USE


The Comprehensive Land Use & Environmental Protection should be the integral part of the Master Plan. The Protection & Preservation of natural resources and community's ecological infrastructure should be the major concern of the Master Plan. The Conservation and not mitigation of the damage being done, should be the focus of development, under universally accepted and established "Precautionary Principle" The Zoning Plans and Building Rules should be subordinate to Master Plan. But what is actually happening in Hyderabad is the other way

Urban Land A Commodity

As a result Hyderabad urban land is simply regarded as a Commodity and not part of larger continuum, intimately linked to the surrounding air, water, vegetation and life, inflicting environmental / ecological damage. If Hyderabad city endowed with heritage and nature will have to be saved for the future, comprehensive and integrated land use planning and management are required, instead of treating it as a Commodity for meeting short term needs, which amounts to selling the future of Hyderabad

Failure to Revise and Notify Master Plan 2020

It is therefore a futile exercise to discuss about "Development & Protection of Environment" in Hyderabad, when HUDA and the State Government have miserably failed to modify the Master Plan made in 1980 and notify the revised Master Plans 2010 / 2020, which were being debated since 1994 and resorting to indiscriminate change of land use and auction of all the available vacant lands just to mobilize funds, without public consultation

Thanking You

Yours Cordially
Capt.J.Rama Rao I.N (Retd)
Chairman

Forum/2006
31 st March 2006


To:
Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy
Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Secretariat
Hyderabad

Sub: Comments on " Hyderabad RevisedBuilding Rules, 2006" and appeal

Dear Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy Garu,

At the outset Forum For A Better Hyderabad congratulate the team for bringing out the "Hyderabad Revised Building Rules, 2006 [ HRBR-2006 ]" [G.O. Ms. No. 86, Municipal Administration and Urban Development (M) Department, dt. 3.3.2006] while Master plans are lying in the cupboards - without Master plan/Zonal regulations bringing out building regulations is a futile exercise.

1) General: The HRBR-2006 is too generalized and over simplified to cater the needs of violators of laws at the cost of environment & general public. Under Annexures it state " The government by Notification may modify, alter or add to the list of the areas given in Annexures below (Annexures I, II & III) . With this, politicians with the tacit support from bureaucracy of the day can play havoc on building regulations through manipulation of rules - this clause also will protect the politicians and bureaucrats from the Courts. That means, the revised rules worth nothing. In fact, this is in contradiction to Para 15 of G.O. Ms No. 423 M.A. dated 31 st July 1998 , "The government or any other Authority shall have no powers hereafter to relax any site from the provisions of these Building Stipulation either in part or in total". Forum in its letter of March 18, 2005 addressed to Principal Secretary, MA on simplified building regulations urged to include this clause to avoid any mischief by politicians of the day. Forum now also reiterates its' urge to include this clause in the revised rules and also urge to exclude item/clause 5 of the Hyderabad revised building rules - 2006 from any such exemption clauses more clearly.

2) Water bodies: Though it carried separate item (item/clause 5) on water bodies, they lack clarity and highly susceptible to political and bureaucratic games [as presented in 1 above]. Through the destruction of water bodies and gardens the temperatures have already gone-up [contributing to global warming] and that require more power to contain the heat:

(a) Himayatsagar and Osmansagar lakes: These two water bodies are covered under item 5(h) "For areas covered under G.O. Ms. 111 MA dated 8.3.1996 (Protection of catchment area of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar lakes), the restrictions on building and development activity imposed in the said government order would be applicable". However, this is defeated with other clauses in different items. For example: At item 9.1 it states that "High Rise buildings/Complexes shall be permissible only in areas other than those given in Annexures I & II". Under Annexure II (B-2) it states that "List of areas prohibited from high rise buildings - outside MCH area - areas covered under G.O. Ms. 111 MA dated 8.3.1996 (Protection of catchment area of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar lakes) ". Under Annexure III - Sky scraper zone - it says at (item x) "All along the outer ring road up to a depth of 500 meters on either side in areas other than those covered in G.O. Ms. No. 111 MA, dated 8.3.1996" - what about items i, ii - ix that fall under this GO? Finally, all these are overrun/superceded by the clause under the Unnexures [discussed in 1 above]. The issues pertaining to GO 111 must be brought out from the Annexures I to III to avoid any ambiguity or misuse or misinterpretation of GO 111 plus Hon'ble Supreme Court judgment dated 1-12-2000.

On 27 th March 2006 Vaartha daily newspaper carried out a report saying, "Golconda Hotels Group made available 'Golconda Resorts & Spa' to public - this is supported by Tourism Department, Tourism department became a destroyer of environment --, which is on the bund of Osman Sagar Lake (Gandipet cheruvu). It is quite surprising who has given them permission in an area covered by GO 111 and this activity in addition require under environmental act to go for public hearing and get clearance from Pollution Control Board - Is HUDA and Pollution Control Board not aware of this activity or they overlooked the illegal activity as the party has high political connections? There are several such activities taking place in the prohibited zone but HUDA and Pollution Control Board is just watching the violations of GO 111 [and the 1-12-2000 judgment of Hon'ble Supreme Court Order on this]. In the past Pollution Control Board rejected Golf-Course near Gandipet as well permission to several industries . Resorts come under category of Hotels that are prohibited by GO 111. Precautionary principle is applicable here as per the Hon'ble Supreme Court order of 1-12-2000. In the past, HUDA has given in writing and said orally to Hon'ble High Court and Pollution Control Board that they will see no such violations take place in the prohibited zone of GO 111.

(b) Musi River: Under item 5
(a)
it states that "No building/development activity shall be allowed in the bed of water bodies like river, or nala, and in the Full Tank Level (FTL) of any lake, pond, cheruvu or kunta/shikam lands. Followed this under 5
(b-iii)
it states that "The above water bodies and courses shall be maintained as recreational/Green buffer zone, and no building activity other than recreational use shall be carried out within - 9 meters from the boundaries of Canal, Vagu, etc. -
(item c)
Unless and otherwise specified in the Master Plan/Zonal Development Plan, the space to be left in and around the Canal/Vagu (including the actual Canal/Vagu bed width and alignment) shall be minimum 15 m. This may be developed as Green Buffer/recreational and/or utilized for road of minimum 9 m width, wherever feasible";
(d)
Under Annexure III
(ii), it states "Sky scraper zone - Along River Musi outside present MCH limits". With all these it is clear that builders could mutilate River Musi -- this is already happening with the tacit support from concerned authorities. At Attapur-bridge some body is filling Musi River with rubble and a bit further upstream some body put a board saying HUDA approved layout -- to identify such evil things you need a watchdog committees

Under Musi beautification the government is contemplating to spend around 900 cores and yet Revised Building Rules allow upstream of River Musi from MCH area to Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar lakes for building activity along its banks and contaminate water of River Musi, they in turn contaminate the water treated in MCH area wasting 900 crores of public money. Alas! It is a national waste. It is proper to extend the clause instead upto MCH area on the upstream side it should extend up to the Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar lakes . In fact Forum members in their submissions to MCH Commissioner on the Musi beautification after the JNTU workshop made similar suggestions and clearly brought out the need for such thing.

(c) Use of Buffer zone:
Item 5 (b)
- It states that "The above water bodies and courses shall be maintained as recreational/Green buffer zone, and no building activity other than recreational use shall be carried out within [I, ii, iii, iv, c] ---": What is meant by recreational/green buffer zone? Is it similar to those of Food Courts/Jalavihar around Hussain Sagar, where in commercial activities are being carried out by constructing permanent structures in which alcohol is also sold [is it ethical to permit to sell alcohol in a recreational place where wife - husband comes with their children to have breathe of fresh air] , constructed projections into Hussain Sagar water, etc - which means, giving the prime land to influential people at throughway price to establish commercial activity in violation of pollution control board consent for establishment order and court orders and encourage unsocial activities! This shall be a green buffer zone only. The road, if any, shall be outside this buffer zone only and not within the buffer zone - similar to Necklace Road around Hussain Sagar Lake.

3) The other issues: With reference to item 3, 4.1, 4.2 & 4.3: builders rarely abide these. A team can go round and see the factual situation prevailing in and around twin cities - the concerned government departments are simple spectators of these illegal activities [Ex. How many of them have the clear and established approach road of minimum 9 m Black topped Road ]. For successful implementation of such, there shall be watchdog committees all round.

The item 7: "There are no plot size stipulations based on use or occupancy of the building. The setbacks and height stipulations given hereunder are applicable for all types of buildings". This is highly improper and malafide decision. This is against the basic zoning regulations. That is why Forum argued that building regulations must go with Master Plan/Zoning regulations. At present government is changing residential zones into commercial zones overnight causing hardships to public and at the cost of destruction of pleasant environment by cutting trees or filling the lakes, etc. This is unethical practice. The rules must follow the zoning regulations - based on use or occupancy of the building - [residential, commercial, etc.] otherwise it creates more problems in future to residents as well as to environment and contributing to global warming.

With reference to Greenery Clause: Item 7.1 [vi to viii, xi] & 9.9 - is highly biased by the shape of the plot. For example for a plot of 5m x 5m = 25 sq. m, the 1 m green belt on four sides means 16 sq. m; the same for a plot of 6m x 4m = 24 sq. m, 1 m green belt on four sides means 16 sq. m; the same for a plot of 7m x 3 m = 21 sq. m, 1 m green belt on four sides means 16 sq. m. Instead fixed width, by taking percent area this bias could be easily eliminated - in fact this was used in item 7.1 - viii & 9.9a. This is also true with setbacks. In the case of setbacks the minimum width required for fire service can be stipulated wherever it is applicable.

In the case of Table IV,
(i)
Minimum road width should be 18 m; and
(ii)
Minimum all-round open space on remaining sides should be in per cent area of the plot size by leaving minimum width required by fire services on all sides similar to that specified in Table VI to avoid bias based on plot shape and size. In the case of Table VI, separate residential building and use 30% and 20% while for the rest use 40% and 30%; above this group use 50% and 40%. Hospitals and residential complexes do not go on the same wavelength in terms of traffic/parking.

There is imbalance/fallacies in Table I and Table III by adhoc plot size limits selection and they vary from table to table and clause-to-clause and such fallacies gives raise the builder or owner of building violate the rules. Thus, it gives the impression that these rules are framed for benefiting the violators only. Let us take few examples under IIIB - less than 12.2 m road width.

Area of the Plot = Dimensions

Area Under Setbacks in %

Depth X Width

Depth X Width

200 sq. m. = 10m x 20m

47.5%

57.5%

800 sq. m. = 20m x 40m

55.0%

60.0%

1480 sq. m = 20m x 74m

48.1%

55.4%

1500 sq. m. = 20m x 75m

53.8%

64.8%

From the above results it is clear that for a simple decrease in area by 1.33% [from 1500 sq. m. to 1480 sq. m.] the percent area under set backs increase steeply [in the above example it is 16.7%, which is equivalent to 250.5 sq. m.]. This happened just because 1480 sq. m falls under 750 to 1500 sq. m group and 1500 sq. m. falls under 1500 to 2500 sq. m. group and by changing plot shape for 1500 sq. m. plot, the area under setbacks changes from 53.8% to 64.8%. That is, by changing width and depth [shape of the plot with respect to road facing] the percent area under set back also changed drastically. In addition to these, the front set back under road width from 12.2 m to 30 m and above in the case of 100 - 200m, etc. have no meaning. This is arising basically because of meaningless Table I.

Therefore most of the tables, particularly Table III must be re-worked out to give realistic and meaningful [with no scope for manipulation] plot size vs road width vs height vs setbacks. Not only the plot size but also the shape of the plot shall define the setbacks and thus this must be accounted in the revision. These revisions must go with land use. There shall be huge penalties & demolition of such violations.

Table II was not prepared by taking into account the practical problems [traffic & air pollution, parking, etc.] with different activities in respect of road width. These are over simplified to benefit vested interests only. The table shall present more realistic by taking into account the present experience in different localities by keeping into account the future congestions. The revision must go with land use.

Based on the plot shape in addition to plot size and local weather conditions must be taken into account while stipulating items 7.1 [iii to xvi] similar to item 8.

Item 5 (g) relates to Banjara Hills- Jubilee Hills area covered by Block 1 & 2, and part of Block No. 3 of ward no. 8, MCH area, the building restrictions imposed vide G.O. Ms. No. 601 MA dated 5-11-1988 read with G.O.Ms.No.423 MA. dated 31-7-1998 would be applicable. Against this is also included Annexure II (A-3). With this can also be mutilated by the government whenever they want. This is already under taken by the public - near by the Lotus pond, near Prashashan Nagar, etc by individuals, Road No. 36 in Jubilee Hills was changed from residential zone to commercial zone overnight, government has sold through auction around 23,500 sq. m. area at the check-post for commercial venture and special GO was issued for 6-month period for construction of Hotels. When the government is developing Outer Ring Road and radial roads, where is the need to tamper the existing GOs?

Appeal: From the above brief discussion - though a bit harsh in the presentation -- it is very clear that the "Hyderabad Revised Building Rules 2006" was issued in a hurry to better serve the vested interests/violators of law. The rules must be for public and at the same time safeguard the environment but not to provide shelter to violators of rules. The Forum For A Better Hyderabad, herewith appeal Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy Garu, the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh that in the light of above brief discussion and by keeping in view the government's proposals such as Greater Hyderabad, Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, etc.:

  • First, the government shall bring out the Master plan/zonal regulations by using HUDA as planning body rather than making HUDA another center for real estate mafia. This is very important in regulating traffic and solving parking & air pollution, water pollution problems, etc in future;

  • Government shall create watchdog committees with people of the locality with integrity for timely control of illegal construction activities;

  • The 'Hyderabad Revised Building Regulations - 2006" shall be re-worked out in light of the above presented brief discussion and that too after the Master plan/Zonal regulations are issued by the government - at present these are in draft form only. The revised rules shall include the clause "The government or any other Authority shall have no powers hereafter to relax any site from the provisions of these Building Stipulation either in part or in total" and also water bodies shall be free from government manipulations/exemption clauses. The government shall assign the task of revision of the rules to people with integrity and good understanding of the subject.

With Regards

S/d 26/3/2006

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
General Secretary
Forum For A Better Hyderabad

CC:-

  1. The Chief Secretary, GOAP
  2. The Principal Secretary, MAUD, GOAP
  3. The Principal Secretary, E. F. S. & T., GOAP
  4. The Commissioner, MCH
  5. The Vice-chairman, HUDA
  6. The Member Secretary, APPCB

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Capt. J. RAMA RAO VSM, FIE,
Indian Navy (Retd)
Tel: (040) 2332 1350
E-mail: captjrrao@eth.net

Mobile: 09393366000
540, Road No. 12,
Banjara Hills,
Date: 25th December 2005
Dr.Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy
Hon'ble Chief Minister
Hyderabad-500 022.

                                                                                                     

 

Respected Chief Minister

              

          Sub: Rule of Jungle in Concrete Jungle of Hyderabad

 

Hyderabad Master Plan 1980

 

            This is to bring to the kind notice of the Hon'ble Chief Minister, that Hyderabad Master Plan prepared in 1980 continues to be in force even today with several Adhoc modifications, during the currency of which several unplanned and unauthorized developments have come into existence on the ground. The important developments taken place since then-Liberalized Economic policy, unmanageable Road Traffic problems, 2001 Census Data etc have serious adverse impacts on quality of life of the citizens

 

Revised Draft Master Plan 2020

 

          The draft proposals of Hyderabad Master Plan were being discussed since 1994, but the revised Master Plan did not see the light of the day. It is regrettable that undue delay is taking place in finalization of the revised "Master Plan 2020 of Hyderabad Metropolitan Area", the draft of which was discussed in January 2001 and notified in January 2003. The draft plan in respect of the area covered by Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad is not notified even till to day.

 

Role of HUDA

 

             From the above, one gets the impression that HUDA, which is entrusted with the job of Urban Planning and Development, is mainly concerned with more of development / commercial activities, than the planning. As a result, the revision and finalization of the Master Plan, which is of vital importance for comprehensive, energy efficient and eco-friendly urban land-use, is being neglected and taking the back seat.

                                                      

Change of Land Use

 

           Many of the Environmental problems, Traffic congestion, Automobile pollution, Flooding of Roads & Residential colonies etc, being experienced in Hyderabad, are mainly attributable to lack of proper Land-Use Plan and non-implementation of whatever the Land-Use plan exists. As a result, the Urban Land is being simply treated as a "Commodity" and not part of a larger continuum, intimately linked to the surrounding air, water, vegetation and life.

 

          Once the Master Plan is finalized and notified, the change of Land-Use should not be permitted at least for a period of 5 years from the date of notification of Master Plan. Any change of Land-Use, with particular reference to Water Bodies, Parks, Playgrounds, Lung-Spaces earmarked for Recreation and Conservation etc should not be entertained at all as it is gong to adversely affect the quality of life.

 

         All proposals for change of the Land- Use stipulated in the Master Plan, should have wide and elaborate public consultation, as was followed while finalizing the Master Plan. The Section 12 of AP Urban Areas Development Act, 1975 and the relevant Rules need to be modified, so as to prevent suvo-moto change of Land-Use by the Government  

 

Building Rules, Violations & Relaxations 

 

        The State Government, reportedly after holding discussions and deliberations at various levels, issued G.O. No.423. M.A. dated 31 st July 1998, to rationalize the FAR values and standards of Building requirements for different types of Buildings, uses and occupancies in Municipal Corporations and Urban Development Authority Areas.

        Even these Rules, with regard to FAR, Road Width, Height of Buildings etc, which are very liberal and diluted when compared with the guidelines of The National Building Code and the Standards being followed in other Metros including that of Delhi. But they are being flouted by the builders, apparently with the collusion of the official machinery, which is entrusted with the task of carrying out mandatory inspections at various stages of construction of the building and issue "Fit for Occupation Certificate"

 

       The State Government also granted liberally relaxations and exemptions to the provisions of the G.O.423 in spite of the stipulation that "The Government or any other authority shall have no powers hereafter to relax any site from the provisions of these Building stipulation either in part or in full".

                                                          

Simplified Building Rules

 

        But regrettably, the State Government with out streamlining and strengthening the regulatory system for ensuring the "Rule of Law" by strict implementation of the Building Rules, issued Memo dated 15-01-2005, notifying the draft "Common Building Rules" in the name simplification of Building Rules. This is nothing but further diluting the existing Rules, which are very liberal and already diluted as stated earlier.  

 

Building Regularization Scheme (BRS)

 

           The State Government issued G.O.Ms.No. No 419 M.A. dated 30 th July 1998 with the view to facilitate the individuals, who constructed the buildings unauthorizedly or in deviation of the sanctioned plan up to 30-6-1998, to get them regularized by paying the penal amount prescribed for the purpose. This has sent the wrong signals that the illegal constructions can get away easily by paying the penalty, which is considered to be peanuts. Again there is a talk of declaring another BRS, which encourages only the "Rule of Jungle", converting Hyderabad into a Concrete Jungle making things worse.

 

Traffic Planning

 

         In the absence of revised Master Plan for the last 10 to 15 years, during which explosive growth of population and the haphazard and un controlled growth of the City  have taken place, resulting in today's traffic and the allied problems Instead of opting for the energy efficient and fast Rail based Public Transport system, we have chosen the energy inefficient Road-Automobile traffic system, with focus on personalized vehicle transport, which has become a nightmare because of Traffic congestion, Noise and vehicular Air pollution.The Hyderabad City is being developed for Cars and not for People by widening roads and building Flyovers. The Ratio of the areas utilized for "Parks" to "Parking Lots" may be the best single indicator of the livability in Hyderabad City. "Building more Roads and Flyovers to ease Urban Traffic is kind of like trying to cure Obesity by loosening the Belt"   

Recommendations

 

 *Master Plan 2020 of Hyderabad Metropolitan Area including MCH Area be
   finalized and notified with out any further delay, to replace the Master Plan
  of 1980, which is currently in operation
    *The change of Land-Use, with particular reference to Water Bodies, Parks,
    Playgrounds, Lung-Spaces earmarked for Recreation and Conservation etc

    should not be entertained as it is gong to adversely affect the quality of life.
    * Any change of Land-Use should not be permitted at least for a period of 5
    years
from the date of notification of Master Plan
    * The Section 12 of AP Urban Areas Development Act, 1975 and the relevant
     Rules need to be modified,
so as to prevent suvo-moto change of Land-Use
     by the Government  
   * The draft "Common Building Rules" notified on 15-01-2005 in the name of
     simplification of Building Rules, be scrapped in the light of finalizing the Master Plan
 
 * The Building Regularization Scheme be scrapped to enforce the Rule of Law    * The officials and builders responsible for the illegal constructions taken place so
     far be identified and subjected to stringent and  deterrent punishment.
   * The Officials concerned be made accountable to ensure enforcement of the Building
     Rules in force without any deviation
    * The State government should not grant any relaxations / exemptions to the Rules
      in force without extensive Public debate
    * The Recommendations of the committee headed by Sri A. Raghotham Rao for
     Traffic & Transportation Management in Hyderabad Metropolitan Area be
     implemented expeditiously

 

Conclusion

           In the light of recent the directive of Hon'ble AP High Court regarding Illegal Buildings and the Demolitions ordered in Municipal Corporation of Delhi, necessary steps may please be initiated to prevent further construction of illegal buildings or in deviation of the approved plans in accordance with the Rules in force

  

 Thanking you, Sir

Yours Cordially

 

                                                                                     

Capt.J.Rama Rao I.N. (Retd)

 

Copy to 1) The Chief Secretary                                    

               2) The Principal Secretary, MA&UD            

               3) The Commissioner, MCH

               4) VC & MD, HUDA.

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JRR / 2005                                                                                                                  September 16, 2005

 

Mr. Jayesh Ranjan IAS,

Vice Chairman & Managing Director,

Hyderabad Urban Development Authority ,

Paigah Palace, Secunderabad -500 003

 

Sir,

Sub: New Construction Projects - Environmental Clearance   

 

                              The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, issued Amendment dated 7 th July 2004, to the principal EIA Notification S.O.60 (E) dated 27 th January, 1994, adding "New Construction Projects" as Item 31 to the Schedule I of the EIA Notification, which lists the projects requiring Environmental Clearance of MoEF, GOI as per the procedure laid down therein.           

 

                             As per this amendment, any construction project, including new townships, industrial townships, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hospitals and office complexes for 1,000 (One Thousand) persons or more, discharging 50,000 liters of sewage per day or with an investment of Rs.50 Crores or more is required to get Environmental Clearance of MoEF after getting the "No Objection Certificate" (NOC) from APPCB.      

 

                            The new construction projects which were undertaken without obtaining environmental clearance and where construction work has not come up to plinth level, shall require environmental clearance as per EIA Notification with effect from 7 th July 2004. Any project proponent intending to implement the proposed project with reference to investment in phased manner or in modules , will need to submit the details of the entire project covering all phases or modules for appraisal to the MoEF.

 

From the News Paper reports it is gathered that the following new construction projects are being undertaken around Hyderabad:

 

  • AP Housing Board taking up mega township project in Shamshabad under public-
    private partnership to provide  accommodation to a  population of about 10,000
    with an estimated investment of Rs. 340 Crores

  • HUDA developing a lay-out in 160 acres with about 2 lakh square meters of plotted
    area and about 36,000 square meters commercial area falling in bio-conservation
    area in violation of  the provisions of G.O. No 111 and the Supreme Court
    directions in  its Order dated 1 st December 2000.

  • HUDA & MCH developing commercial complexes under "Save Musi Project" the
    details of which are not made public

            The HUDA, as a responsible planning and regulating agency, should set an example for the public by strictly following the statutory provisions in respect of the layouts and construction projects. It is therefore requested that all the construction projects in violation of the provisions EIA Notification and the G.O.No. 111 be kept in abeyance, till the environmental clearances of MoEF are obtained as stipulated in EIA Notification.

 

            The Principal Secretary, Dept of Municipal Administration & Urban Development by a copy of this letter is requested to direct the authorities concerned in other urban areas like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Warangal etc to strictly follow the provisions of the EIA Notification in respect of all new construction projects.

 

                    Looking forward for an early response.

 

                   Thanking you

                                               

                   Yours Cordially

                                                                                               

                       J.Rama Rao

 

Copy to

 

1)       The Secretary

         Ministry of Environment & Forests , GOI

 

 2)   Mr. S.P. Singh IAS

        The Principal Secretary to Govt.

        Department of Municipal Admin & Urban Development,

        Govt. of AP Secretariat, Hyderabad -500 022.

 

3)    Mr.S.K.Sinha IAS ,

       Member Secretary, APPCB

 

4 )   Mr. Sanjay Jaju IAS ,

       The Commissioner MCH,


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Memorandum to CM Submitted on Cutting Trees, Road Winding & Breaking of Rocks on 14-.09-2005

 

Date: 14.9.2005

 

Honourable Chief Minister,

Government of Andhra Pradesh,

Hyderabad

 

Respected Chief Minister,

 

a)       Cutting of trees for road widening

b)       Destruction of rocks.

c)       Blanket instruction for demolition of unsafe old buildings.

d)      Sharing the road widening plan

 

We request your kind attention to the following matters and seek your urgent intervention.

 

Tree-cutting

 

We notice that, purportedly for the purpose of road widening,  a large number of trees have been cut / are being cut  along Somaguda-Rajbhavan road, Begumpet road along  the Hyderabad Public School, and  elsewhere.   With a little imagination by the concerned authorities, many of the trees on the sides of a road could have been saved , by using them as road dividers  between the existing roads and their extended widths , and the extended portions could be used  for two wheelers,  autos,. cycles,  slow-moving vehicles and pedestrians.

 

We would like the Corporation and other concerned authorities  to examine how far the felling of trees could be minimized while widening roads and we are prepared to offer our help in this regard. Felling of trees increases air pollution, thereby affecting a citizen's right to life.  Therefore, such felling cannot be permitted unless  absolutely necessary, and when no other option is  available. That is why it was made necessary to take approval from  the Horticulture department under the Tree and Water Act before felling any tree, even in one's own compound.  But, proper approval was not taken as required under the Tree and Water  Act of the government.  Further, the current rules of the government require that three times the number of trees felled should be planted to keep the green cover. The concerned authorities must ensure this, strictly,  and suitably  inform the public their   plan for planting new saplings in replacement of the felled trees.

 

Destruction of rocks

 

Hyderabad is known for its rocks and it is one of its attractions. For the purpose of road widening, such rocks are being thoughtlessly destroyed. We refer in particular to the huge boulders in front of the Greenland Guest house, a notified heritage building, which were just destroyed, without heeding our request to at least try to shift these to some other location inside the premises.  It will be violation of the heritage conservation rules to alter/destroy any part of the Greenland Guest house, without prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee. The A.P. High Court has already given a clear ruling in this regard in reference  to a case concerning the road widening project around Charminar, a few years ago.

 

Heritage Buildings and Heritage Precincts

 

Press reports from time to time state that   the  Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad have instructed  that all old buildings, which are considered unsafe, should be pulled down without delay and without  hesitation. While we appreciate the anxiety and the urgency felt by the Corporation to prevent any risk of loss or injury to  life and property, by any unsafe, old building falling down as a result of natural reasons,  such order should exclude, not merely  the notified heritage buildings,  but also buildings likely to have heritage value, as the identification of heritage buildings and heritage precincts is an ongoing process and the law provides for additions to and deletions from the list of notified heritage buildings and precincts. The concerned municipal authorities should, before demolishing an old building considered "unsafe.",  must consider whether such a building is likely to have any heritage value and/or whether the demolition of such a building is likely to diminish or destroy the value and beauty of the Precinct inside which  it may be located. They can have made a  list of old "unsafe" buildings  within a time-bound programme, and arrange a quick inspection of  such buildings by the Heritage Conservation Committee, or a team of persons approved by the latter,  who can   take an on-the-spot view whether the concerned building(s)  can be demolished without detriment to the  value and beauty of the relative Precinct, or because the building(s)   is / are devoid of any heritage value. If, on the contrary, this body finds the need for conserving a building, and yet the building is considered unsafe for occupation, it should be immediately evacuated, with a proper warning  regarding its un-safety to  the neighbours or passers-by. We are confident that it is practicable to take such a measure.   Steps should also be taken for the restoration of such buildings.

 

Road Widening

 

Finally, as citizens /  body of citizens concerned with civic problems and environment conservation, we request that the plan for  road widening and  the construction of flyovers, be informed to the public. Such sharing  will improve the quality of the plan and help its implementation.. It would be interesting  to know whether  any study of traffic movement and traffic growth was made with a medium- to- long term perspective, before undertaking the current road widening plan and the construction of  flyovers.  Only a few years back, some roads were widened, which now seem to require further widening, which suggest that proper planning was not made at that time.  The mistake should not recur.

 

We request your personal intervention.

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REPRESENTATION TO THE HON'BLE CHIEF MINISTER ON GREATER HYDERABAD

 

                                                                                                                                                    Date 01-08-2005

TO,

Sri. Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy

Honorable Chief Minister

Government of Andhra Pradesh

Secretariat

HYDERABAD.

Respected Sir,

The Forum for A Better Hyderabad would like to state its reservations regarding the proposed creation of Greater Hyderabad by merging 12 municipalities and eight-gram panchayats with the current MCH area.

In our view, the reported decision of the Government to merge these local bodies is fraught with several risks even while it might appear to create a more functionally unified administrative territory.  In this connexion, you may recall that SPEQL had earlier raised several concerns regarding both local governance and urban development and management in 1998 in a letter to the Principal Secretary to Government, Dept. of Municipal Administration. & Urban Development, when the previous government mooted the same idea. Certain definite recommendations were also made in this letter to overcome the problems of growing Hyderabad, without creating a mega city. For ready reference, we re-state these observations and recommendations.

Quote

(a)             The proposal to form Greater Hyderabad by including contiguous areas in MCH goes against the basic principle of democracy for decentralisation and delegation of powers.

(b)              The basic objective of the proposal, as stated in sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955, to secure "efficiency and economy" in the Municipal Administration, is not likely to be achieved, because of inherent administrative and organisational inefficiencies and inadequacies of a mega organisational set up.

 (c)             The services delivery systems of present MCH, spread over an area of 172 sq.km. with a population of 30.44 lakhs (1991), are unresponsive to the basic needs of the citizens. There is no accountability for the delivery of basic services at various levels of MCH. The implementation and enforcement of various rules and regulations are extremely poor to say the least.

(d)               The enlarged corporation spread over an area of about 600 sq.km. With a population of about 40 lakhs (1991), judging from the ground realities is going to be unwieldy and unmanageable, making the things worse adding to the problems of the citizens.

(e)               The contiguous, areas proposed to be included in MCH, are without basic civic amenities and are totally neglected inspite of decadal population growth of 155% during 1981-91. The situation in these areas is not likely to improve very much even after inclusion in MCH, going by the fact that many areas even in present MCH remain ignored and neglected.

(f)                The public perception of development activities of MCH is that they are mainly confined to certain privileged areas such as Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Panjagutta, Begumpet, Somajiguda, and others, at the cost and neglect of less privileged areas.

(g)                Decentralised local governance, involving local community, is key to sustainable cities. Most of the services offered to urban citizens are of local nature and can only be provided efficiently if they are handled locally. Decentralisation is believed to reduce the cost of operations, and delays, significantly. The bottom-up problem solving rather than top-down decision making by fully involving stakeholders is possible only in compact and manageable cities.

 "The question marks hang in the polluted air over mega cities like, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Mexico City, Cairo, Delhi and Beijing. In many of these cities well-to-do citizens and corporate bodies are moving out, driven away by high costs, crime, and a deteriorating quality of life. We strongly oppose the proposal to make Hyderabad a Mega City to join the galaxy of Mega Cities mentioned above.

"We agree with the argument that, in the light of the  HI-TECH City, International Airport and other growth oriented activities the time has come to look at Hyderabad and the surrounding Municipalities, as one entity and plan for the development of Land, Water, Sewage, Road Network, Urban Transportation and other resources, in an integrated fashion. This can be achieved by constitution of "Committee for Metropolitan Planning" (MPC) for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area (HMA) comprising MCH, 9 Municipalities and other contiguous rural/urban areas in accordance with Art 243 ZE of The Constitution of India, without resorting to the merger of the areas.

"The Hyderabad Metropolitan Planning Committee (HMPC) can function as Planning and Regulatory Body, while the Municipalities and Gram panchayats in "Metropolitan Area" can function as institutions of self-government, within the framework of Development Plans prepared by Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC), and for the performance of functions and the implementation of schemes as may be entrusted to them. (11th & 12th Schedules of The Constitution of India).

"The schemes of common interest between various bodies of HMA, namely the development operation and maintenance of infrastructural services such as Water, Sewage, Road Network, Transportation, and others may be entrusted to "Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority" (HMDA). This Authority wills co-ordinate the activities of common interest for integrated development and environmental conservation of HMA. Thus the functions of the present "Hyderabad Urban Development Authority" (HUDA) will be shared by "HMPC" and "HMDA".

 "After developing the infrastructure facilities of the peripheral areas, in par with that MCH, the Municipalities and Panchayats in Hyderabad Metropolitan Area may be regrouped into 3 or more Municipalities as considered feasible at appropriate time."

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Our position on these matters is substantially the same as that of SPEQL. Additionally, we wish to highlight the following issues in the present context.

1.       The trend towards concentrating administrative, planning and development resources on the city of Hyderabad over the last several years without a matching effort at regional planning and development, has created a serious imbalance in both the city and the region. The creation of Greater Hyderabad is another step in the same direction. These imbalances have already resulted in massive in-migration, severe stress on the city's infrastructure, growth of unauthorized construction by all income groups, congestion and rising pollution levels in the city.  These issues need to be addressed before such a major decision as to merge the municipalities is taken. 

2.       The creation of Greater Hyderabad is also a step towards greater centralization of resources and power. This is against the spirit of the 74th amendment of the Constitution which seeks to promote local participation in planning and development. That local democracy where the local people actively participate in decision-making assumes a viable size of the local body is self evident. The project for Greater Hyderabad is silent on what, if any at all, democratic structures are contemplated within the 'mega city' governance.

3.    The proposed amalgamation will result in serious disparities in political power in local governance. The fact that Hyderabad unlike any other city in the state is also the state capital, implies that the state government has tremendous influence over urban governance and development here. The most powerful actors in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad are not the corporators but the bureaucrats and the ex-officio members.While this is an unhealthy trend even for the MCH, extending it to the 12 municipalities will only mean that more territory is directly subjected to centralized state power. The creation of Greater Hyderabad will only exacerbate this undemocratic centralization and specific local interests may be missed for redressal.

4.       We are given to understand that the creation of Greater Hyderabad will make it possible to claim the mega city status which in the current national and international policymaking environment will enable the government to access certain types of funding for infrastructure. This seems to be the main argument of the government.  But, the need for funds should not direct policymaking. Mega systems are known to suffer from mega crises as well. And to mitigate some special problems of mega cities that have unfortunately emerged due to lack of proper planning at the appropriate time, special funding is provided. Only to attract some special funds available to a mega city, we should not create the phenomenon of a mega city with its attendant problems. Mega city should be avoided on the principle that prevention is better than cure.

We hope the government will reconsider the decision in light of the above arguments and pursue a policymaking path that will truly aim at creating a livable city and region for all economic and social groups. In this connection, we cannot help pointing out that the government has taken the decision to create a mega city of Hyderabad without prior consultation with the municipalities, the political parties, not to speak of the NGOs concerned with urban planning. This is very arbitrary and undemocratic.

Yours Faithfully,

 

(VEDAKUMAR.M)

President

FORUM FOR A BETTER HYDERABAD.

CC To : -

1.              Sri Mohankanda, IAS, Chief Secretary Govt.of Andhra Pradesh.

2.              Sri S.P Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary to Government, Dept. MA&UD, Govt.of AP 

3.              Sri Jayesh Ranjan, IAS, Vice Chairman, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority.

4.         Sri Sanjay Jaju, IAS, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad. 



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PRESS RELEASE

Date 03-08-2005

 

The Forum for A Better Hyderabad has addressed a communication to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on the proposed creation of Greater Hyderabad and sent the copies thereof to the concerned Government departments of the state government, the local MPs and MLAs, different political parties, the Chairman of MCH, officials running the 12 municipalities and the gram panchayats sought  to be merged into Greater Hyderabad. The Forum has expressed its serious reservations regarding the substance of the proposal as also the undemocratic process of arriving at that decision without any consultation. On the substance of the proposal, the Forum has observed that

 

  1.  The trend towards concentrating administrative, planning and development resources on the city of Hyderabad over the last several years without a matching effort at regional planning and development has created a serious imbalance in both the city and the region. The creation of Greater Hyderabad is another step in the same direction. These imbalances have already resulted in massive in-migration, severe stress on the city's infrastructure, and growth of unauthorized construction by all income groups, congestion and rising pollution levels in the city.  These issues need to be addressed before such a major decision as to merge the municipalities is taken. 

  2.  The creation of Greater Hyderabad is also a step towards greater centralization of resources and power. This is against the spirit of the 74th amendment of the Constitution, which seeks to promote local participation in planning and development. That local democracy where the local people actively participate in decision-making assumes a viable size of the local body is self-evident. The project for Greater Hyderabad is silent on what, if any at all, democratic structures are contemplated within the 'mega city' governance.

  3. The proposed amalgamation will result in serious disparities in political power in local governance. The fact that Hyderabad unlike any other city in the state is also the state capital implies that the state government has tremendous influence over urban governance and development here. As the situation prevails today, effective power in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad is not exercised by the elected corporators, but by the government officials and the ex-officio members.  While this is an unhealthy trend even for the MCH, extending it to the 12 municipalities will only mean that more territory is directly subjected to centralized state power. The creation of Greater Hyderabad will only exacerbate this undemocratic centralization and specific local interests may be missed for redressal.

  4. Decentralized local governance, involving local community, is key to sustainable cities. Most of the services offered to urban citizens are of local nature and can only be provided efficiently if they are handled locally. Decentralisation is believed to reduce the cost of operations, and delays, significantly. The bottom-up problem solving rather than top-down decision making by fully involving stakeholders is possible only in compact and manageable cities.

  5. The main argument of the government seems to be that the creation of Greater Hyderabad will enable the government to access certain types of funding for infrastructure in the current national and international policymaking environment, by claiming the mega city status. But, the need for funds should not direct policymaking. Mega systems are known to suffer from mega crises as well. And to mitigate some special problems of mega cities that have unfortunately emerged due to lack of proper planning at the appropriate time, special funding is provided. Only to attract some special funds available to a mega city, we should not create the phenomenon of a mega city with its attendant problems

  6. The basic objective of the proposal, as stated in sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955, to secure "efficiency and economy" in the Municipal Administration, is not likely to be achieved, because of inherent administrative and organizational inefficiencies and inadequacies of a mega organizational set up.

  7. The services delivery systems of present MCH, spread over an area of 172 sq.km. With a population of 30.44 lakhs (1991), are unresponsive to the basic needs of the citizens. There is no accountability for the delivery of basic services at various levels of MCH. The implementation and enforcement of various rules and regulations are extremely poor to say the least.

  8. The enlarged corporation spread over an area of about 600 sq.km. With a population of about 40 lakhs (1991), judging from the ground realities, is going to be unwieldy and unmanageable, making the things worse adding to the problems of the citizens.

  9. The contiguous, areas proposed to be included in MCH, are without basic civic amenities and are totally neglected inspite of decadal population growth of 155% during 1981-91. The situation in these areas is not likely to improve very much even after inclusion in MCH, going by the fact that many areas even in present MCH remain ignored and neglected.

  10. The public perception of development activities of MCH is that they are mainly confined to certain privileged areas such as Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Panjagutta, Begumpet, Somajiguda, and others, at the cost and neglect of less privileged areas.

The question marks hang in the polluted air over mega cities like, Rio, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Mexico City, Cairo, Delhi and Beijing. In many of these cities well-to-do citizens and corporate bodies are moving out, driven away by high costs, crime, and a deteriorating quality of life. The Forum strongly opposes the proposal to make Hyderabad a Mega City to join the galaxy of Mega Cities mentioned above.

Latest international thinking recommends an upper limit of two million population  in a city and favours the creation of independent cities which can be clubbed together for planning.  For example, we do not have greater Mumbai bu Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, etc.

The Forum agrees that, in the light of the HI-TECH City, International Airport and other growth oriented activities the time has come to look at Hyderabad and the surrounding Municipalities, as one entity and plan for the development of Land, Water, Sewage, Road Network, Urban Transportation and other resources, in an integrated fashion. This can be achieved by constitution of "Committee for Metropolitan Planning" (MPC) for Hyderabad Metropolitan Area (HMA) comprising MCH, 9 Municipalities and other contiguous rural/urban areas in accordance with Art 243 ZE of The Constitution of India, without resorting to the merger of the areas.                                                         

 

The Hyderabad Metropolitan Planning Committee (HMPC) can function as Planning and Regulatory Body, while the Municipalities and Gram panchayats in "Metropolitan Area" can function as institutions of self-government, within the framework of Development Plans prepared by Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC), and for the performance of functions and the implementation of schemes as may be entrusted to them. (11th & 12th Schedules of The Constitution of India).

 

The schemes of common interest between various bodies of HMA, namely the development operation and maintenance of infrastructural services such as Water, Sewage, Road Network, Transportation, and others may be entrusted to "Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority" (HMDA). This Authority wills co-ordinate the activities of common interest for integrated development and environmental conservation of HMA. Thus the functions of the present "Hyderabad Urban Development Authority" (HUDA) will be shared by "HMPC" and "HMDA".

       

After developing the infrastructure facilities of the peripheral areas, in par with that MCH, the Municipalities and Panchayats in Hyderabad Metropolitan Area may be regrouped into 3 or more Municipalities as considered feasible at appropriate time.

 

The Forum has expressed its disappointment over the arbitrary and undemocratic manner in which the government has taken the decision to create a mega city of Hyderabad without prior consultation with the Corporation, the municipalities, the political parties, not to speak of the NGOs concerned with urban planning. The Forum has appealed to the government to reconsider the decision in light of the above arguments and pursue a policymaking path in a widely consultative manner that will truly aim at creating a livable city and region for all economic and social groups.


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NOTE TO HON'BLE MINISTER FOR MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATION AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT FROM THE FORUM FOR A BETTER HYDERABAD

The Forum for Better Hyderabad was formed a few years ago in response to the urban developmental policies of the previous government. While welcoming the new emphasis on the efficient delivery of city services, we differed with the policies of the then government in several respects.

Among the issues taken up by the FBH, the first was the protest at the proposal to put shops and buildings around Hussainsagar Lake, a priceless asset of the city, dating back to Qutb Shahi times. This project was aptly described by Capt Rama Rao as "a real estate project in the guise of a tourism project" The previous government decided to set up a Buddha Purnima Development Authority, thereby by-passing HUDA, which had been set up in order to take care of the planned development of the entire city and its hinterland, as described in the AP Urban Areas Development Act, 1975.

We opposed the conversion of the Secunderabad Parade Grounds into a stadium of national proportions. This led to the shifting of the stadium to Gachhi Bowli, where the National and Asian Games were held. We were unhappy at the creation of the Cyberabad Development Authority, since Cyberabad clearly forms part of the Metropol itan Area defined in the 1975 Act, and deviating from the integrated approach would lead to undesirable consequences. We are glad to note that these decisions of the previous government are being reviewed or have actually been reversed by the present government



The Forum for A Better Hyderabad welcomes the new thrust given by the present Congress Government to Andhra Pradesh's development policy. The emphasis has shifted from an urban-oriented approach to rural development, from industry to agriculture, with a stress on the needs of farmers, the problems of unemployment and the needs of agricultural labour.

The new government has however inherited from its predecessor Telugu Desam government an urban development policy giving primacy to the city of Hyderabad in the state's development This policy was not debated, so far as we are aware, in the state legislature, nor by the educated public and the civil society. It was thus imposed on the city of Hyderabad without full consultation. Wherever possible, we have suggested alternative policies and presented them in representations. We issued public statements and initiated a debate in order to alert the civil society to the consequences of the policies being adopted.

Our approach has always been constructive, and not destructive. We continue to stand for the values for which we have stood during the last few years of our existence.
I.Adverse Consequences of land Use Changes and Relaxation of Rules.
 In recent years, the change of land use from residential to commercial in the major streets of Hyderabad has increased greatly. The Hyderabad Central shopping mall located at Panjagutta has been constructed apparently without any adequate parking facilities. There have been several complaints about this in the newspapers. This is however only a tip of the iceberg. Seven or eight shopping malls, including some with Imax theatres and the like, appear to be under construction on Road No 1, Banjara Hills. As it is, this road is already subjected to terrific traffic jams. It is not clear what steps are being taken to provide parking on them, and to handle the additional traffic generated by these shopping malls.
 We regret to point out that several of the Government Orders reprinted in the HUDA Development Control Regulations [containing Land use, Zoning, Layout, and Building Regulations] recently published by HUDA (as amended and updated up to October 2003] contain Government Orders which are unduly permissive. The application of these orders is leading to serious consequences in regard to traffic movement, circulation of air, provision of parking, and add to the burden of water supply, electricity and other services. Some of these Orders are listed below:
[1] Declaration of major roads as Commercial and levying of Impact Fees-delegation of Powers for according Commercial Institutional Building permission along and abutting certain stretches of roads in Twin Cities
Notification- Confirmed- Orders Issued [GO Ms No 508 MA dt 10-11-02]
[2] Municipal Corporation/Municipalities and areas covered by Urban Development Authorities - Road Widening and demolition of affected properties - Delegation of Powers for according certain relaxations of Building Regulations and Zoning Regulations to the Local Authorities [G9 Ms No 15 MA dt 15 January 1998 36 MA dt 31 January 2002]
[3]Tourism Projects - Tourism Policy of Government of AP -Incentives for promoting the Tourism Projects and Enable Services in the State Automatic conversion or exemption trom Zoning Regulations and exemption trom payment of conversion charges.
These permissive orders of the government, as already stated, have put the entire urban system in jeopardy. Even now, the city faces massive traffic jams. Foreign agencies arranging conferences are routinely warned to locate the visitors in the same hotel where the conference is held, as people moving trom other parts of the city will not reach the venue on time.
We urge the Government, even at this late stage, to take the public into confidence, as to the additional burden being placed on the city's traffic and transport system by these shopping malls, and the steps being taken to tackle them. Are any MMTS stations being located in Banjara Hills to handle the additional traffic, and if not why has this alternative not been considered?
II.Regulation of Building Constructions
In the middle of May 1999 a building known as Madhavi Enclave in Motinagar, off Erragadda, in the Kukkatpally Municipality limits collapsed while under construction, The decomposed bodies of a welder and an accountant, who had been missing since Sunday 16th were recovered from the site on 19th May. Instead of the permitted four floors with 29 flats, the builder had allegedly constructed six floors with 40 flats, besides a penthouse.
Although it was not the first of its kind, the collapse sent shock-waves through the public and triggered off a debate on the entire process of giving building permissions, the responsibility of the state authorities for the dangerous effects of these house collapses, and the utter negligence of the MCH and the HUDA. The serious consequences to the flat owners received adverse notice not only trom environmentalists like ourselves, but trom Sri P Janardhan Reddy, MLA and leader of the CLP who urged the IDP Chief Ministerto take stringent action against the builder, demanded the suspension of the MCH officials who sanctioned the construction, and said that "an impression had gained ground among people after introduction of the Building Regularisation Scheme that the Government would approve any illegal construction on payment of the stipulated amount. This attitude had resulted in mushroom growth of penthouses and other unauthorised constructions which were a perennial source of danger." He further held that "Government must dispel the public notion that illegal constructions would be approved, Permission for construction of multi-storied building should be given only after a spot inspection of the safety guidelines. Finally, no deviation must be allowed from the approved plans." [The Hindu, 20 May 1999]
Immediately after this incident, on 17th May 1999, the then Government appointed a High-level Committee to probe the building collapse. It was chaired by Sri Raghavan, Director General, National Academy of Construction, and included the then Commissioner of MCH, Dr. P.K. Mohanty, the Commissioner of Municipal Adminsitration and the Director of Town and Country Planning. On June 25 the Kukkatpally Municipality demolished portions of the apartment complex in Motinagar, constructed in violation of building rules." [The Hindu, 16 June 1999.]
In less than a fortnight, the High Power Committee submitted its report. Its recommendations included: 1] minimum plot size of 1000 sq metres for Multi-storeyed apartments, and 500 sq metres for group housing to be maintained [Plots of less than 800 and 400 sq metres posed a grave threat to occupants, they said.]: 2] construction of buildings under the supervision of a panel comprising the structural engineer, architect and builder. 3] Compulsory insurance of buildings to provide compensation to occupants in the event of a mishap, 4] appointment of a special Expert Committee to review the present laws on building construction, and bring in radical changes to prevent unauthorized construction.
 What was the response of the previous government to the report of the committee of experts appointed in May 17 and which submitted its report by June 1 the same year? After a delay of one and a half years, a Government Order, M5 No 541 MA dt 17-11-2000, was issued, in which it accepted some of the recommendations in regard to buildings of 10 meters height and above. It demanded statements from the owner as to whether he was constructing himself or giving it to a builder, with details of the construction firm. Soil tests, structural designs, building plans, undertakings on stamped papers and insurance policies were required. Stringent conditions were laid down, to be followed before an occupancy certificate was issued. The builder, site engineer, structural engineer and architect were to be jointly and severally responsible for structural stability during the building construction, and water sewerage connection and power connections would not be given without production of occupancy certificate. Local authorities were directed to blacklist the builder and his technical advisers in case any of the above provisions were not followed.
These provisions appear to be stringent. The actual experience has however been that complaints from neighbors get ignored, the interests of the flat-owners are frequently violated, and rules are by­passed with impunity. The most common violation appears to be the illegal conversion of single family dwellings into apartment houses., Flats are sold surreptitiously or openly, and Occupancy certificates are not obtained in many cases. The individual builder/owner often obtains an Ad-interim Stay Order and proceeds merrily with the construction, since the MCH lawyers make no effort to get the stay vacated. Usually MCH does not prevent the occupation of flats even in single-family dwellings, let alone in apartment houses where the number of apartments exceeds the sanctioned number, as in the Madhavi Apartments case.
III.Routine Violation of Rules: Failure to obtain Occupancy Certificates
On June 5 1999, an article in The Indian Express reported that "almost every moneyed entrepreneur" had "turned into a builder". They lack the basic knowledge of building construction and "manipulated things" either at the MCH or the HUDA, thus "playing havoc with prospective buyers.      " We agree with this assessment, and could not have put the position more clearly ourselves.
There is a long list of clearances to be got by a builder before occupancy is permitted, but buildings are routinely occupied without an Occupancy Certificate. This means that all rules and regulations, including safety requirements, setbacks, open spaces, number of floors, heights, water supply and fire restrictions, can be broken with impunity. Ail these factors reduce circulation space, add to sound pollution, violate privacy, and enhance the heat island effect. The illegal increase in the number of flats and shops leads to an added burden on the city's water supply, electricity, and other services. The builder, sells the flats to the occupants, and takes away his unearned income.
IV.Illegal Conversion of Single Family Dwellings into Apartment Houses
One of the commonest and most serious irregularities is the obliteration of the distinction drawn between the building permission given to a single-family structure, and that for an apartment house. If a building has three stories or more, it requires a lift, and can be considered an apartment house. In practice, however, we find that single-family dwellings, which are permitted frequently, become apartment houses.
This conversion is often done in spite of violating land use in the area. It is very difficult for the public to know in which area a multi-storied building is permitted, and where it is not permitted. This is because
1] The land use and building regulations have been changing frequently, and new Government Orders are often issued overnight. These are sometimes not available even to the legal profession let alone to a private citizen.
2]        Notice Boards are not placed "in front of a building indicating the land uses and FAR, the number of floors permitted, the setbacks and the like - so that neither the neighbors, nor future buyers, nor the passers-by are aware as to what kind of building it is. They would have to undertake difficult and tortuous investigations in order to fmd out the facts of the case.
3]        The 'Streets' and 'Lanes' branching off main' Roads' or' Avenues' are often not numbered, even in such high-profile areas as Banjara Hills. The land Uses and FAR's for the main roads can thus be illegally extended to the streets for want of a clear definition of the boundary.
The party often obtains an Ad Interim Injunction Order in a subordinate court, without specifying the purpose for which it is needed. The builder then carries on his illegal building construction with little or no effort on the part of the municipal authorities to get the stay vacated. Any action the Municipal body may try to take at a later date [such as issuing show cause notices to the architect for removal from the list of architects, asking the TRANSCO and HMWSSB not to supply water, or placing an advertisement in the newspapers saying that the building is illegal] can prove effective. The builders have ways of getting around these irregularities. For example they may treat the flat-owner as a Power of Attorney holder, or show the flats as being on long lease, while taking the payment for them. Not only the builder but also even the apartment owners thus become parties to the irregularities. The latter are obviously anxious to receive early delivery of his apartment on which they have invested a good deal of money.
This attitude of permissiveness was encouraged by the Building Regularisation Scheme, which, according to newspaper reports, expired on 31 December 2004. The FBH has come out strongly against its renewal.


V.Building Regularization Scheme
The Building Regularization Scheme introduced by the previous government in GO MS no 419 MA and UD dated 30-6-1998 was challenged by the Forum for A Better Hyderabad in Writ Petition No 250111/98. Justices Bilal Nazki and E. Dharma Rao of the High Court summarizing the arguments put forth in the Public Interest Litigation, referred to the qualifications of the petitioners. It was pointed out that the petitioners had brought to the notice of the government, even before the impugned order was issued, that the order would have deleterious consequences such as the increasing Heat Island Effect, the impact on water and power, absence of lung space, traffic congestion, growth of slums, accumulation of urban wastes, overflowing sewerage, air pollution, water pollution, non availability of parking places and depletion of ground water table, etc. In another government order the state authorities had regularized all previous illegal building constructions. The very argument that this was a 'one-time concession' made to the violators of building regulations was clearly violated by going into details of the decision that further irregularities would be regularized.
The Writ petition was decided as follows: "The Additional Advocate General has not been able to show us any power under any law, viz., HMC Act, AP UAD Act, AP Town Planning Act, whereby the Government has the power to regularize the illegal constructions..." The Judgment goes on to say that the power of the Government to give directions to the Corporations under any Act does not include the right to "give instructions which are inconsistent with the Act or the rules made there under. Therefore a Government can' issue directions in furtherance of the objective that no construction is made in the city without permission of the Municipal. Authorities but it cannot subvert the Act itself and then take refuge under Section 679 E by saying that the Government has the power to issue directions ".
The Judgment accepted that the petitioners, who are "respected citizens have raised very important contentions with regard to the environment and ecology of the city of Hyderabad in this Writ petition. They have also approached the Hon'ble Chief Minister twice in the past".
Since the petition was decided on grounds that the Government had sought to "subvert" the Act, the questions of ecology and environment of the state were not examined by the High Court. However, the Judgment concluded as follows: "We expect that the Government shall take steps to get examined the apprehensions expressed by the petitioners, through experts and take remedial measures if necessary. "
The previous government responded to the incisive and critical comments of the Hon'ble Judges not by challenging the judgment, but by issuing an Ordinance and Act, giving the mselves the power to regularize illegal constructions under the AP UAD Act and Rules. Thus that government showed its unwillingness to alter its policy of permitting illegal building construction. It is true that it appeared to be willing to take steps to prevent further collapse of buildings. However, the recommendations of the expert committee sought to link the danger to future buildings, with the question of illegal buildings in general. It is this, which formed the subject matter of our writ petition before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

According to newspaper reports, the BRS proposed to be revived in another form, by permitting 20 percent of deviations in the construction of buildings. A statement of this kind can be expected to encourage deviations from building plans and continue the permissive atmosphere, which has prevailed during the past few years.
We request the Government to drop the BRS totally, and to set its face against the renewal of the scheme in any shape or form.
VI. Alternative Approaches to Traffic Management Road Widening and Flyovers versus Rapid Transit:
            The continued stress laid by the previous government on road widening on the one hand and flyovers on the other have come in for adverse comment during our discussions at the Forum for A Better Hyderabad. The utility of widening of roads depends entirely on the use made of the widened space. If it is used partly, at least, for parking of vehicles, for pedestrian zed footpaths, and for bicycle paths, it may have a salutary effect, in the long run. [This is the model put forth by the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Penalosa, who spoke in Hyderabad to officials a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence of this. The widened roads are often allowed to deteriorate with pushcarts, vendors and the like, taking over the extra space provided. Footpaths in Hyderabad are generally too narrow and too high. Tree guards, electric poles, water hydrants, etc frequently occupy them. Pedestrians are often forced to walk on the road itself, and they often cross roads at the risk of their lives, because the pedestrian right of way at zebra crossings [in the cases where they do exist], are not effectively enforced by the police authorities.
The entire strategy of rapid transit embodied in the MMTS, which is intended to take the place of bus and other vehicular traffic, is defeated by the multiplication of road-widening schemes and Flyovers. Flyovers do not add to the total carriageway, but only lead to faster traffic movement, provided they are located at road intersections. Too often, they are located along the length of a road, such as the Begumpet main road. The harassment caused to the public by the 'Telugu Talli' flyover near the Secretariat over the years too well known be repeated here.
We strongly urge that the Government take up a policy of encouraging rapid transit through making the MMTS more effective, and give up the idea of any further Road-widening and/or Flyovers in the city of Hyderabad.
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  SIMPLIFIED BUILDING REGULATIONS Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Forum presented comments/suggestions on "Simplified building rules applicable to all Urban Areas" on 18th March 2005 to Principal Secretary, GOAP, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department. Some of the sal ient comments/suggestions are as follows:
  • Though in the past also we had good rules, the main problem was the lack of a proper implementing & supervising agency. Because of this, illegal construction activity flourished. In such circumstances, to execute the new simplified rules most effectively the document should also include the system that will ensure foolproof implementation of these rules without any ambiguity or without any provisions for exemptions. In this connection, the Govt. should form "Watchdog Committees" with concerned citizens who can bring to the notice of the concerned authorities, violations if any, in their respective areas.
  • The new simplified building regulations should clearly state that residential zones and bio- conservation zones are un-alterable.
  • The Master Plan indicating land Use with regard to Residential/Commercial, Industrial, Institutional, Transport, Water Bodies, Conservation, Recreational, Natural Heritage/Rock Formations/Heritage Buildings-Monuments-precincts, etc. needs to be finalized at the earliest for the entire Urban Development Authority area. The Zoning Regulations and Building. Regulations with have to be read and implemented in accordance with the land Use specified in the Master Plan. Building regulations issued in isolation without land Use Plan will only make things worse.
  •  As per para 15 of G.O. Ms No. 423 M.A. dated 31st July 1998, "The government or any other Authority shall have no powers hereafter to relax any site from the provisions of these Building Stipulation either in part or in total". The same may be included in simplified Building Rules
  • Also, for all violations make the concerned official(s) responsible and action should be taken against them as per law along with appropriate action including demolition of violations and action on violators as per law.
  • In addition to these general observations some specific suggestions were also made on the draft notification. Some of these are given, below:
[a] Item 3 last sentence should read as: Restrictions contained in the respective existing rules/bylaws/ regulations/other stipulations as well as existing and prospective orders of Courts of law would continue to be applied in the respective areas. [Note: In this connection, the government should list such issues for public awareness as well as implementing agencies clarity, for example    (i) in the case of Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar Lakes, the two drinking water sources for twin cities the government issued G.O. Ms No. 111 MA dated 8-3-1996, which was later upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court (1-12­2000) and brought in the "precautionary principle" and (ii) land mark judgment of the Hon'ble A.P. High Courtt dated 15-6-2001 with reference to W.P. No. 26378 of 2000 with reference to Hussain Sagar Lake]. Add Provisions of the AP Water, land and Tree Act (no. 10 of 2002) and rules made there off as per G.O. Ms No. 239 PR & RD (RD IV) dated 25th June 2002.

[b] Item 15 - Add "Wherever special GOs were issued priorto these simplified building regulations by the government with respect to certain water bodies, etc like G.O. Ms 111 MA of 8-3-1996 with reference to Himayat Sagar & Osman Sagar Lakes, they are covered under the respective GOs/court orders, etc.". [c] Item 15b - change as "The above water bodies and courses / nalas, etc shall be maintained as such and any building activity/commercial activity/ring road for recreational use shall be carried outside the green buffer zone of (i) 30meters from the FTL of Lakes of area 10 ha and above; (ii) 20 meters from the FTl of Lakes less than 10 ha/Kuntas/shikamlands; (iii) 10 meters from the boundaries of Nalas, Canal, Vagu, etc. Unless and otherwise stated, the area and the FTL of a Lake/kunta shall be reckoned as measured or given in the Survey of India topographical maps. The green belt must include medium size tree crops, particularly indigenous plants such as neem, kanaga, etc."
74th Constitutional Amendment: Saving or Selling the Future? Capt. J. Rama Rao
First humanity must learn to acknowledge that a system of natural ecological infrastructure exists everywhere, that it functions with or without our presence, and that when we interfere with its functions, the resulting effects are cataclysmic despite our atempts to reconstruct, duplicate or mend it. Therefore, it is in our best longterm interests to keep as much of this natural infrastructure as healthy and as intact as possible. Second, and perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt is that we did not fully realize, the powerful influence that sensible municipal land use planning has on the quality of our natural environment. As a result the land is simply regarded as a commodity and not part of larger continuum, intimately linked to the surrounding air, water, vegetation and life, inflicting environmental/ecological damage.
In terms of Andhra Pradesh Urban Areas (Development) Act 1975, Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) was constituted in 1975, to ensure planned, orderly, balanced and sustainable development of the notified Urban Area of Hyderabad, leading to improvement of physical and social environment and consequently quality oflife. The Master Plan for 1865 sq.kms, covering Hyderabad and its surrounding areas was prepared by HUDA and notified in the year 1980, the plan period of which was up to 1991. But it is presently in force and will continue to be so, till the revised Master Plan is brought into force. The draft master Plan­-2011 was prepared in 1994 and was put for public debate, and nothing heard after that. Again Draft Master Plan-2020 is under preparation for the last one year and the present position is not known.
As per the Act, the Master Plan shall define various zones into which the development area may be divided for the purposes of development and indicate the maner in which the land in each zone is proposed to be used. The development plan for each of the zones is also to be prepared containing land use plan for the development of the zones. The land uses proposed in the zones are Residential, Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (Schools, Hospitals, and Public Buildings & Utilities etc), Transport (Roads etc), Recreation (Parks, Playgrounds etc), Reserved Forests, Water bodies, Conservation etc areas. The hillocks, valleys, 18keshores and river banks are normally earmarked as Recreation Zones, prohibiting development activity involving any material change in the land use. Therefore the commercial recreation activities such as Amusement Parks and others requiring structures should not be permitted in notified recreation areas such as Parks, Playgrounds, Water-fronts etc.

It is gathered that many developments that actually took place since 1975, include many deviations to the notified Master Plan and Zonal Development Plans. Some of the deviations were carried out by modifications to the plans as per Section 12 of the Act 1975 and others were by way of unauthorized constructions. In the entire HUDA area, there have been about 300 cases of conversion of Green Belts and other areas covering about 3400 hectares of land from 1976 to 1994. The matter for concern is that the changes in Green Belts have been taking place in a scattered manner, with pockets of residential colonies appearing all over the green belt areas.
A total of 132 orders, for the change of land use were issued during the years 1994 and 1995, when compared to about 300 cases between 1976 and 1994 January. Some of the changes authorized during 1994 and 1995, pertain to plot sizes varying from 105 Sq.yds. to 2000 Sq.yds. in crowded residential areas converting residential areas to commercial use. This type of piece-meal and isolated changes are likely to cause considerable inconvenience and hardship to the residents in the areas concerned, having serious adverse impacts on their quality of life. The other glaring aspect is that a number of recreational areas in some of the localities have been converted into Residential and commercial uses.
In addition to above, large areas of water bodies, drains and public places have been encroached by way of unauthorized constructions. The State Govt. is also resorting to allotment of large chunks of Govt. land, covered under reserved forests, water fronts etc to various business groups, individuals and organizations, camouflaged by fancy names such as Botanical Garden, Night Safari, IMAX Theater etc in the name of attracting investments and promotion of tourism, unilaterally modifying the land use notified in Zonal Development Plans. As a result the Master Plan and Zonal Development Plans of Hyderabad have become superficial as they are frequently modified to suit individual requirements and irrational Govt. decisions, with utter disregard to sustainable development and long term adverse environmental impacts. Most of the disaster causalities in India are reported to be a consequence of shoddy planning and non implementation of plans. The Honorable High Court in a recent judgment recorded their dissatisfaction over the way in which Master Plan and Zonal Development Plans are being modified, keeping the citizens and voluntary organizations in the dark.
By virtue of Article 243 ZE & ZF of the Constitution of India, it is only a Metropolitan Planning Committee, which shall be entitled to prepare a draft development plan for the Metropolitan area as a whole or modify, revise or alter any existing master plan. Therefore the relevance of provisions of Urban Areas Act 1975, relating to preparation, revision and modification of Master Plan and Zonal Development Plans, and constitution of special area development authorities such as Buddha Poornima Project Authority, Cyberabad Development Authority etc under the guise of the need for special planning control will have to be reviewed in the light of Art 243 ZE & ZF.
Earthquakes, Skyscrapers and Deathtraps Capt. J. Rama Rao
The deaths reported in earthquakes occurring in California and Japan do not normally exceed two digit figures, whereas the death toll in Latur and Bhuj earthquakes is in 5 digits. It is attributable to ignoring the grim messages of reported seismic activities in identified areas, lack of adequate safety norms for building constructions, and if any, their poor or lack of implementation.

The spatial policies for development of urban areas and proper implementation of these policies, particularly in respect of land use, are more important for sustainable urban growth and development, than the skyscrapers. The high-rise buildings are comparatively more expensive, because of special structural and safety requirements to be complied with, making them out of reach for many middle class families. They require more maintenance efforts apart from being energy intensive, creating extra strain on civic services. They are also likely to cause many environmental problems such as air and noise pollution due to increase in population densities and allied activities and traffic in the limited area. The provision of fire fighting arrangements and other facilities for skyscrapers may prove to be very expensive.
On the other hand, if low rise and compact form of development is adopted for urban residential areas, the highest permissible gross residential density of 550 persons per hectare can be achieved without going in for high-rise residential complexes with the associated problems. The need to commute to the city centre can be avoided or minimized by developing well planned work centers, with offices, shopping areas, schools, hospitals etc, on the outskirts, thus avoiding overcrowding of city centers. The information technology, communication network and fast public transport system will go a long way in decongesting city centers. By well-balanced and integrated development of all towns and cities and by bringing down urban-rural disparities, the creation of mega urban agglomerations and the need for high-rise complexes just to accommodate more people, can be avoided. Therefore one need not view MSBs as the only solution to provide accommodation for growing population. Also in the light of technological developments of modern times, we need not repeat the mistakes of the developed countries, by aping Manhattans and Petronas Towers.
The Multistoried Building Regulations 1981 of Hyderabad was enacted to enforce, structura1 safety, firefighting, and other requirements for buildings more than 15m in height or having more than four floors. At the same time Multi Storeyed Buildings (MSBs) were prohibited in some of the congested areas and a few traditional quarters of the city. The MSBs are permitted up to a maximum of 8 storeys, as the normal maximum height allowed is 25 mtrs. There are however cases of violations, relaxations and exemptions of regulations, leading to construction of a number of MSBs more than 8 storeys, the tallest being 16 storeyed in Bashirbagh Junction. The department of fire services is of the opinion that more than 50% of high-rise buildings in twin cities are "death traps", as builders did not bother to follow norms, regarding safety, prescribed in various rules.

As if this was not enough, the G.O. Ms.No.423 MA dated 31-7-1998 was issued, in the name of rationalization of FAR, Procedures, Standards of building requirements, etc, removing the height restriction for MSBs, thus opening the flood gates for high-rise structures.

The earlier restriction on high-rise buildings, in Banjara and Jubilee Hill areas of Hyderabad and the sea front of Visakhapatnam, which have been identified as earthquake prone areas, was also removed.
To cap it all, the G.O. No.419 dated 30­07-1998, which is popularly known as 420 G.O., was issued to get all unauthorized constructions, in violation of various rules, and regularized. This infamous G.O. circumvents the very provision of prohibiting the Govt. or any other authority from granting relaxations, contained in G.O.No.419 issued one day later. This is nothing but a back-door entry and hoodwinking of the public, sending wrong signals to encourage non­compliance of rules, by making it a very lucrative, high profit and low risk business. Who cares for the death traps being created? The Politician, Bureaucrat and Builder nexus think that they will not be trapped either by ACB/ vigilance or the Death Traps being created by them for the public!
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Shamshabad Airport­Some Problems and an Alternative Proposal
Prof. M. V. Nayudu
In a letter dated 3rd September 2002, Prof. M.V. Nayudu, member of the Forum, addressed the special Chief Secretary to Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, Roads and Buildings as follows:
We learn that the International Airport coming up close to Shamshabad about 1 KM to its south, encompasses about 5000 acres to its south, south west and south eat, and is also hardly about 5 KM from Himayatsagar - a heritage drinking water source together with Osmansagar to the twin cities. This is totally against the well intentioned G.O.No. 111 of 8/3/1996 to protect the 2 lakes from industrial and domestic pollution.
From the HUDA notification of 14/8/02 that appeared in Deccan Chronicle of 21/8/02, it is clear that a large number of developers and builders have already laid residential and other plots all round the proposed International Airport and as close as 1/2 - 1 KM from Himayatsagar. Apparently this activity is prohibited and violators may "face consequences of law".

While the G.O. No. 111 prohibits all residential colonies, layouts and red and orange category industies within 10 KM radius, upstream and down stream, from full tank level of Himayatsagar and Osmansagar, and inspite of the Supreme Court Judgement ofDec 1, 2000 the Govt. allow in the polluting industries to function within the prohibited zone, disregarding the "Precautionary principle" of pollution.

Further, the Govt. and its various ageneies have so far failed to prevent land grabbers and encroachers from their unsocial activities as exemplified by various illegal constructions in the MCH and HUDA are'as, and the constructions of complexes near the "Protected" Durgam Cheruvu, and letting domestic sewage into it from the two large colonies on its either sides. TIlls is inspite of High Court Order of July 2001, and protest leters to RR District Collector.

Thus, it is a foregone conclusion that the 2 lakes will get polluted in 5-10 years like Hussainsagar, Mir Alam Tank, Saroornagar and Kattedahn Tanks and many others in MCH and HUDA areas, if the Airport is built in the prohibited site.
International Airport:
The Location of the International Air Port is _lose to Shamshabad, about 4 KM from Himayatsagar, and extending to South West, South and SouthEast of the town and to the lake. 
Facts: Catchment Area Storage Capacity Supply (mg)
1. Himayatsagar 1090 Sq.km 96 mom 20
2. Osmansagar 730 Sq.Km 120 mom 25
          
Two major drinking water sources: Heritage lakes. Situated in drought prone R.R. District fed by 2 major rivers during the erratic rainy season; together with smaller streams, form the Drainage basin.
  • Many parts of R R have ground water  depleted to 80%, some 40%.
  • Water samples from periphery of Himayatsagar rich in some algae, indicators of pollution.
  • Buffaloes and washing common in some places of the 2 lakes.
  • 12 stone crushers operate within 100 Mts. to 1 KM of Himayat Sagar starting from its dam along road leading to Shamshabad. Kotwalguda area Against R. R Dist. Collector's order of 8.8.2000.
  • Rain water flow obstructions by some big cultivators on some streams.
  • Some tanks partly destroyed.
  • The following problems arise due to the above situation.

    1. International Airport will lead to some effuents towards Himayat sagar despite treatment systems due to efficiency problems and negligence.
    2. NRSA maps show lineaments and fractures that indicate ground water flow towards the 2 lakes.
    3. Thus contaminated surface and ground waters reach the 2 lakes rapidly - pollution.
    4. Many plots are laid out close to the 2 lakes, particularly Himayatsagar.
    5. Residential colonies will even more rapidly pollute the lakes. Result: Similar to Hussainsagar, Mir Alam Tank, Saroornagar & Kattedahn Tanks, etc.
    6. MCH, HUDA and municipalities around have not prevented illegal constructions and enoroachments. Goings on in Durgam Cheruvu now inspite of High Court order of July 2001 is a classic example.
    The following solutions and alternative plans are put forth.
    1. Shift the airport location to further south of Shamahabad by 15 - 20 KM to beyond the catchment area of the 2 lakes.
    2. Ban and enforce with accountability all constructions in the catchment area of the 2 lakes.
    3. Ban further growth of the existing villages and towns in the catchment area to avoid increased domestic pollution.
    4. The huge complexes coming up now in he vicinity of the 2 lakes should be made to have their own adequate treatment systems to avoid polluting the 2 lakes.
    5. No more new constructions should be allowed in the area.
    6. New constructions can be along the 6 main roads leading out of the city on other sides, taking pollution containing measures for each unit in a planned way; also protecting water bodies near by.
    7. Shift all Rod & Orange category industries to safe areas identified by NRSA and NGRI and Ground Water Dept. Thus the "Precautionary Principle" emphasised by the Supreme Court Judgement of Dec. 1,2000 and followed World over will be impklemented.
    8. Permit Green industries like Hard Ware Park in the acquired area near Shamshabad, releasing no pollutants.

    9. A Lake Development Authority Cell should monitor the catchment areas of the 2 lakes, destroy all illegal constructions within. 3 days, and severely punish the violators by 2 lakh rme, and imprisonment for 2 years.
         Non performance of the employees of the cell/authority should also be punishable similarly to ensure law and water availability. Drinking water is a fundamental right. The location of the Airport at Shamshabad and land acquition inspite of G.O. Ill, the Supreme Court Case in Surana Oil Co., and its judgment on Dee, 1, 2000 as also the present efforts to continue the Red & Orange category industries within 10 KM belt indicates scant regard for good laws and court judgments at various levels of Govt.
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