Lessons from Hyderabad

I was in Hyderabad recently, and was very keen to see the progress that city had made since my last visit a couple of years ago. Believe me there was a lot of progress, a lot of it of the undesirable kind. The traffic for one: heavy, assorted and absolutely aggressive. If you think the traffic in Chennai is bad, you have to experience it in Hyderabad during business hours (not even the rush hour!) to understand what bad is. The other is mushrooming development without much attention to zones, aesthetics or user comfort. There were many more buildings, many jammed onto the roads in a very haphazard manner, making them difficult to use, creating parking problems etc. We aren’t that bad yet!

The one area where we must draw lessons from Hyderabad is what they have done around the Hussain Sagar lake. They have completed a broad boulevard completely around the lake, and called it the ‘necklace’! This boulevard is a great bypass road and enables one to avoid the terrible traffic snarls at every junction on the usual routes. It also has spacious, well laid out parks on the lake side, as well as landscaped banks, an amusement arcade as well as an ‘Eat Street’- a well planned food court on the banks of the lake where people can dine al fresco on the banks of the lake ,as well as inside with views of the lake. And mind you, they have done all of this with some taste, without the ‘beautification’ that our government is famous for; terraces with bosomy statues of women pouring water out of pots and the like. It was a foggy kind of day, so couldn’t get any decent pictures of all this.

No we don’t have a Hussain Sagar, but we do have two water ways. If the government succeeds in blocking all the untreated sewage outflows into these two rivers (an attempt is being made for the Adyar), they would become natural resources (the important thing is to let them look natural with a little help!) that would become a boon for the public for recreation like the Hussain Sagar. Scenic riverside drives with landscaped banks along the Adyar; bypass roads along the Cooum with gardens descending to the river; walking and jogging trails; riverside restaurants and eateries are all possible if we treat our rivers right. There are many examples that our city father’s can draw from for such an initiative such as Perth or Sydney. I hope the Master Development Plan that Minister Stalin talks of includes plans to clean up and make better use of the rivers for the city’s residents. Done well, it will certainly have the support of Chennai residents in keeping it clean and well maintained.

3 Comments so far

  1. G V Balasubramanian (unregistered) on November 26th, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

    The roads along the Velachery Lake may also be developed as suggested by you, David

  2. Manikandan (unregistered) on November 26th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    There are lot of talks regarding cleaning up of the Chennai waterways and making them navigable, but still in papers only..It’s implementation is quite doubtful though it will make all Chennaites like us very happy and proud..

  3. Gans (unregistered) on November 27th, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

    Nice idea.. I like it a lot too.. I too wish it happens.

    But I am not sure of this:
    “Done well, it will certainly have the support of Chennai residents in keeping it clean and well maintained.”

    The previous govt cleaned up the canals to some extent. For eg mambalam canal.
    It looked so refreshing to see the canal clean or atleast approchable.
    Next week it was back to its original state with all the wastes dumped in it!

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