City of pearls losing its lustre

(Valentine Wilson)    

This had to happen.  The persistent rains that lashed Hyderabad City and the suburbs  exposed the civic preparedness of this metro, that is vying to be the top city in the country.

As it is, the roads were already in shambles to say the least.  The rains further devastated whatever was left.  There is not a single road that is in a motorable state.  The GHMC resorts to some spit and polish measures but the conditions worsen even more.  They fill potholes with debris and even that gets removed in a few days taking the situation back to square one.
One heavy rain, nay drizzle, is enough to throw the traffic haywire.   As it is traffic sense is at the lowest and roads choc-o-block.  There was a time when one spoke of traffic only at peak hours.  But nowadays, at any given time during the day  traffic snarls are a norm.  With many thoroughfares made one way. the lanes and bylanes are filled with two, three and four wheelers.  In some areas even buses find their way through these choked lanes.
What a dismal state our city has come to.  In each of these lanes speedbreakers are laid out in such a stupid fashion that motorists shudder that their vehicles suspensions will give away.   With some thousands of vehicles being added daily to the traffic, one just cannot fathom what the situation is going to be in 2020.  Smart City or oversmart city?  God alone knows.
Apart from vehicular pollution the noise pollution is just bizzare.  Honking for no ryhme or reason is the order of the minute.  Some serious law should be imposed like the  helmet, drunken driving  or signal crossing rules.
Coming back to the rains, it is a well known fact that Hyderabad and Secunderabad boasted of one of the best drainage networks in the country.
But that was during the Nizam’s time.  He had a great vision and had laid the best drainage system.  But over the years with the influx of rural population and migration from other states, the city has grown vertically and horizontally, With low lying areas and lake beds grabbed for residential use, drainage system had gone for a toss during the recent rains.
The GHMC  has no proper pre monsoon plan.  They have it on paper only, but in reality they are in sleep mode and are shaken out of their slumber when a disaster as the past few occassions hit them.  Atleast for the next year, lets hope the GHMC  starts its clean up operations from now itself.  The main nalas are never cleaned thoroughly.
The other day I was shocked to hear a naive minister talking at a Telugu meet in the United States saying that Hyderabad has beautiful roads (sic).  That was a  pack of lies.  We are hundred years behind the States as far as roads and traffic are concerned.
The roads are at its worst.  Only contractors get richer whenever some work is undertaken.  The roads get a facelift momentarily but within weeks the top surface gets worn out.  There has to be some accountability, which sadly is missing.  The contractors have to be pulled up otherwise nothing will improve.
 The Chief Minister is dead serious about  a Swach Hyderabad, but the officials care two hoots.  He also has a dream of making Hyderabad ‘s old city like Istanbul and new city like Dallas.  Let it not be a dream.
The Urban Minister KT Rama Rao is genuine in his efforts to put Hyderabad on top of the league,  but his efforts are more towards information technogy, where Hyderabad has progressed by leaps and bounds.
He needs to devote time to civic issues which directly affect the common man.   He has the vision and he only  needs to make surprise visits to various areas and solve the civic issues then and there. Only then Hyderabad can reach the pinnacle in traffic sense, cleanliness and other civic issues.  There is a need to dig huge rain harvest pits even on roads where water stagnates.
We need to get our act together, if not we will be known as the Dirt City.
The City of pearls seems to be losing its lustre.