Realty boom in Nalgonda district spawns illegal land ventures

NALGONDA: It's a realty roll in Nalgonda district at the moment. From Rs 1,500 per square yard a couple of years ago, the land rates have skyrocketed to Rs 15,000-20,000 per square yard now. The realty boom may have gladdened the realtors, land owners and forces inimical to separate Telangana, but it has spawned several illegal ventures which mushroomed over the last two years.

As many as 1,372 illegal layouts have sprouted all over the district. Close to 245 gram panchayats are facing this layout madness and the revenue officials have issued notices to not less than 1,145 realtors. "Two years ago, the land rates were between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 per square yard. Now, a piece of land close to the national and state highways costs a bomb," S Chandrasekhar, a small-time realtor, points out.

Thanks to the huge demand for residential complexes, the new bypass road and Mahatma Gandhi University in Nalgonda, Narketpally, Kodad and Miryalaguda have emerged as realty hubs. In Nalgonda town alone, 98 illegal layouts have been recognized by the district administration.

The stretch between Nalgonda and Narketpally sells like hot cakes extending up to Duppalapalli. Sagar Road up to Chintagudabavi and Darvesipuram on Devarakonda Road is also a 'hot realty' zone. Officials identified 76 illegal layouts in Narketpally panchayat limits recently. "Nalgonda has suddenly become a hot spot for realty boom because the water crisis has been resolved to a large extent. Previously, we used to get water once every 8-10 days. Now, the situation has improved with Krishna water supply once every three days," Burra Prem Kumar, a resident of Narketpally, said.

Market analysts said people from neighbouring districts such as Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Guntur and Krishna are coming forward to buy plots because of huge employment potential as well. Businessmen and upper middle class people from Nalgonda, Miryalaguda, Nakrekal, Chityal, Suryapet, Neredcharla and Huzurnagar went on a borrowing spree to buy huge tracts of land to make quick bucks. "Those who got hefty returns started re-investing hoping to rake in more moolah," an expert pointed out.

Meanwhile, officials are at their wit's end with the booming illegal realty racket as most of the realtors are in cahoots with local politicians. "People should be wary about illegal ventures. We can take action against such ventures," warned Padmakar, RDO, Nalgonda. For instance, realtors in the tribal-dominant Devarakonda are promising moon to the buyers by claiming that the town would soon be made into a municipality and that the land rates would see a massive jump. "There is no truth in such campaign. The realty mafia is at work," said a senior revenue official.

Realty boom in Nalgonda district spawns illegal land ventures - The Times of India
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  • Hyderabad realtors hopeful of mandatory clause relaxation

    Hyderabad realtors are expecting the government to announce a revision in the mandatory quota for low income groups and the poor pegged at 20 per cent for big plots now that the by-polls are over.

    Ever since the quota was announced in January last year, practically all the big housing projects coming up over one acre plots had come to a grinding halt. Local bodies, be it the municipal corporations or the urban development authorities had stopped receiving applications for such projects.

    Builders had lobbied rather successfully with the government to have a rethink on the policy pointing out that none of the cities in the country were following it in letter and spirit. A high-powered committee of senior officials of the municipal department had revisited the policy and come out with quite a few concrete suggestions.

    Hectic parleys continued nevertheless at the ministerial level till it reached Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy‘s table. According to sources it was then decided that some kind of relief had to be provided from the mandatory clause since the developers had raised their hands.

    It appears that now the government has decided to accept some of the suggestions made by the officials’ panel and also tweak a couple of them so as to make it acceptable to the developers. These include enhancing minimum plot size which has to follow the policy to 2.5 acres from the one-acre limit and five per cent each of built-up space or units to the LIG/EWS instead of 10 per cent each.

    Alternatively, it may allow the developers to build these units within a five kilemetre range from the municipal corporation or urban planning body limits. Quite interesting since the earlier proposal was to permit the developers to build the mandatory units within a 10 km range from the sanctioned project site. Developers were demanding permission to build the units 10 km away from the city boundaries.

    Real estate analysts in the city, however, are not sure if these relaxations would provide any succour to the developers since many large projects are slated to come up in plots anywhere between eight and 10 acres at least in the state capital. The pricing of LIG/EWS units and selection of beneficiaries too has to to be sorted out, though the panel has suggested measures on these issues too.

    Hyderabad realtors hopeful of mandatory clause relaxation | Track2Realty || India's real estate e-newspaper
  • Cancel bail granted to Gupta, kin: DLF, govt to HC

    HYDERABAD: The state government and real estate company DLF on Thursday approached the AP high court seeking cancellation of bail granted to realtor G S Gupta and two of his family members.

    DLF company was allegedly duped to an extent of Rs 280 crore by G S Gupta following which criminal proceedings were launched against him. While evading the police, Gupta had moved the Supreme Court for anticipatory bail and the apex court had stayed the proceedings against him for three weeks. In the meantime, Gupta moved the trial court last month and secured bail. This bail was on Thursday challenged by the state and DLF.

    Public prosecutor Vinod Kumar Deshpande contended that Gupta and his associates should have first offered themselves to the process of trial court before seeking bail. In the absence of such surrender, granting them bail is illegal, the prosecutor said.

    Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu, before whom the matter came up, posted the case for hearing to Monday.

    Cancel bail granted to Gupta, kin: DLF, govt to HC - The Times of India
  • Government gives in to builders’ demands

    HYDERABAD: Succumbing to pressure from builders and realtors' lobby, the state government has amended the order (GO No. 45) and gave them relief from reserving 20% of developed land or housing units to economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income groups (LIG).

    The municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) department on Saturday issued GO Ms No 245 exempting housing projects in five acres from reserving 20% of the developed land for EWS and LIG. However, the developer or builders taking up projects in land measuring between 3,000 square (sq) metres and up to five acres have to pay 'shelter fee' to the respective municipal bodies.

    The GO No 45 which made it mandatory to reserve 20% of housing projects for EWS and LIG in layouts above 4,000 sq metres as per norms stipulated under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission (JNNURM) drew flak from builders and developers who have stalled major projects for the past one-and-half years. To resolve the issue, the MA&UD department appointed a committee with officials drawn from Director of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), GHMC and HMDA, which submitted its report a few months ago.

    As per the latest amendment, if the area of a project is above five acres, builder or developer should provide 10% of the total built-up area to EWS and LIG (5% each) or 25% of the total number of housing units to the two sections (12.5 % each). However, they have the option of reserving units. The developers would get 10% concession in city-level infrastructure impact fee for the main project and total exemption for the part being reserved for EWS and LIG.

    The state government has not only reduced the EWS and LIG reservation but has given realtors the option of taking up housing projects for the two groups within a radius of 10 kms from the main project site or within five kms from the nearest aerial boundary of municipal limits in cities like Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. The GO said two or more builders/developer could provide a specified number of EWS and LIG units with all civic amenities, but occupancy certificate for the main projects would be released only after completion of EWS or LIG units. Separate undertaking would have to be obtained from builders concerned by the local body. Projects taken up in an area measuring below 3,000 sq metres are exempted from both EWS and LIG reservation and also from payment of 'shelter fee'.

    The shelter fee is Rs 750 per sq metre in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits, Rs 600 in other municipal corporations, Rs 500 in selection and special grade municipalities and Rs 400 in other municipalities and panchayats falling under urban authorities. The shelter fee collected from the developers would be utilized for development of housing for EWS and LIG under JNNURM or any other housing schemes meant for those sections.

    The GO No 45 which made it mandatory to reserve 20% of housing projects for EWS and LIG in layouts above 4,000 sq metres as per norms stipulated under the JNNURM drew flak from builders and developers who have stalled major projects for the past one-and-half years.

    Government gives in to builders’ demands - The Times of India
  • NOC must for sale of church land in state

    HYDERABAD: A letter issued last month by the chief commissionerate of land administration to all district collectors has made it mandatory that, for any church property sale to be registered, a no objection certificate from the collector has to be produced first.

    The directive comes as a shot in the arm for those resisting the large-scale sale of church land across the state. The letter was issued by the then CCLA and special chief secretary Minnie Mathew.

    It states that the NOC rule has been made binding following several representations to the AP Christian Minorities' Finance Corporation regarding illegal sale of church assets in the state.

    Incidentally, in March this year, a hostel for orphan children in a Lutheran Mission compound in Guntur district was sold to a private party for redevelopment into a commercial complex.

    Although a government order was issued a few years back putting restrictions on the sale of church property, it was soon withdrawn, paving the way for unregulated sale. The order in question stated that church property should not be alienated and there even was subsequent correspondence between the departments of revenue and stamps and registration in this regard before the matter was put aside. "Will these properties, which were sold during the interim period and are being transferred even now, ever be restored," questions Bhaskar Benny of Christian Front, calling for the cancellation of these registrations.

    NOC must for sale of church land in state - The Times of India
  • Traders refuse to buy metro rail exemption proposal

    HYDERABAD: Traders waging a legal battle against the Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL) find themselves caught in a dilemma over the latter's offer to 'spare' select properties in Ameerpet, Greenlands and other areas that would otherwise have to be demolished to make way for the Metro rail corridor.

    The proposition, which would require slight trimming of the road width, however, has some of the traders afraid that the move is part of HMRL's hidden agenda to break their unity.

    In an affidavit filed before a division bench of high court, HMRL has said that 80 properties out of 544 marked for demolition in Greenlands, Ameerpet, Sarathi Studios and Krishnanagar could be left standing as part of a revision that also substantially reduces the extent of damage to other properties.

    Sources said HMRL managing director NVS Reddy met some Ameerpet traders last week and assured them that their properties would be saved. He is said to have told them that HMRL could do with a road width of 85ft although the master plan had stipulated that it should be kept at 100ft.

    But the traders have their doubts. "The efforts of HMRL brass are clear as they want to break our unity," said a trader in Krishnanagar. A petitioner himself, he said HMRL authorities were talking to only a select few among them. "We will not accept it if some properties are spared and others demoilshed," he warned.

    Officials at HMRL said that the meeting had been held as per court directives which wanted them to explore the possibility of having an amicable settlement.

    It is learnt that HMRL is undertaking a survey of the marked properties to study the likelihood of some more properties being saved from demolition to provide right of way (RoW) to the metro rail.

    An affidavit was filed on April 27 in response to a directive issued by the bench headed by the chief justice hearing a HMRL petition that sought vacation of the stay imposed on work on the stretch between Ameerpet and Jubilee Hills forming part of corridor III from Nagole to Shilparamam.

    A single bench headed by justice L Narasimha Reddy had stayed the works on March 16 after hearing a petition filed by the Joint Action Committee of Greenlands, Ameerpet, Madhuranagar, Yousufguda and Srikrishnanagar (GAMYS) and 20 individual traders who contended that HMRL had unilaterally changed the alignment at their expense to favour some real estate bigwigs. The hearing has been posted to July 9.

    Traders refuse to buy metro rail exemption proposal - The Times of India
  • Dear readers beware
    Grandeur building blocks has been cheating

    Even some of the real estate agents admit.
  • Another residential project stuck in legal hassles

    HYDERABAD: The Malaysian Township (Rain Tree Park) in Kukatpally, currently under the Income Tax (I-T) scanner, is not the only APHB-IJM (India) Infrastructure Limited joint venture that seems to have hit a rough patch. Another residential-cum-commercial project that the two signed in 2005 is also stuck in a legal battle for close to three years now. The land measuring a whopping 36 acres is located opposite the Malaysian Township and has seen no developmental activity yet. The current worth of this land is anywhere between Rs 360 and Rs 400 crore.

    This land parcel was sold to the Malaysia-based developer by the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board (APHB) at a rate of Rs 3.82 per acre, seven years ago. As per the agreement, the property was set to be developed into a housing complex, on the lines of the Rain Tree Park, by Swarnandhra-IJMII Integrated Township Development Company Pvt Ltd (SITCO), a joint venture firm floated by the two parties.

    The project was likely to include commercial establishments too. However, soon after the announcement, the much-hyped venture hit a roadblock with the state department slapping a 'termination of agreement' notice on the developer. It cited non-payment by the buyer as reason for the move.

    "The developer paid 20% of the total cost to APHB at the time of signing the agreement and were supposed to pay the balance in installments thereafter. But despite the lapse of deadline, the company did not pay the second installment. Therefore, we slapped a termination order," said B Rajagopal, chief engineer with APHB. The matter soon landed at the Andhra Pradesh high court and has remained unresolved till date.

    "We dragged the housing board to court because their notice was unwarranted. As per the deal, the developer was not supposed to pay any installment to APHB until the department conferred the power of attorney (of the project) on the joint venture," argued B Venka Reddy, company secretary of SITCO referring to the latest high court hearing on the case (held in April 2009) that honoured SITCO's claim and declared the termination as 'illegal'. The bench, however, added another clause in the order that restrained the developer from continuing with the contract on that property.

    "Subsequently there was another order passed in favour of us. But because of the ambiguity in the first order, the Chief Justice posted the matter to a third judge. It has been in the court ever since," Reddy added.

    While SITCO officials maintain that they would start work on the project once the legalities are sorted, industry observers feel that the land should be resumed by the housing board and resold to a third party.

    Another residential project stuck in legal hassles - The Times of India
  • MLA, construction giant encroached 1.3 acres at Nallakunta Lake: Report

    HYDERABAD: Serilingampally MLA Bikshapathi Yadav, a construction giant and several others have encroached over 1.3 acres of Nallakunta lake in Gopanapally village, according to a report.

    According to the report by the deputy inspector of survey, Chevella division, on April 7, 2012, on encroachments in survey Nos 7, 8 and other shikaham (lake bed) land, Aparna Constructions, Bikshapathi Yadav's family members and several others encroached upon the lake land.

    In survey No 8, acre 0.07 guntas (1 acre = 40 guntas; 1 gunta = 121 square yards) was encroached by constructing a compound wall around a building. Similarly, in survey No 7, an extent of acre 0.01 guntas was encroached upon by Aparna Constructions. A portion of land in survey No. 8, to an extent of acre 0.30 guntas, was also encroached upon by land holders of survey Nos 9 and 11. "The deputy inspector of survey in his order only mentioned the name of Aparna Constructions for encroaching upon some portion of land. However, he did not name individuals who had reclaimed acre 0.30 guntas, which was encroached by land holders of survey No 9 and 11, who are family members of Bikshapathi Yadav. The officer deliberately did not directly name the MLA's family members, who went on to construct a compound wall and a guest house over a four-acre land,'' K Bhaskar Reddy of Janam Kosam on whose petition the Lok Ayukta registered a case against Bikshapathi Yadav and several Rangareddy district officials.

    However, the Lok Ayukta registered a case only against the MLA since he is a public servant, but not against Aparna Constructions. "There are no full tank level (FTL) pillars on the spot since it was encroached upon by neighbours. The total extent of tank bed land is acre 1.31 guntas in survey No 8, acre 0.01 guntas in survey No 7. The extent occupied by Aparna Constructions in survey No 7 and 8 is acre 0.08 guntas,'' the report said.

    On April 9, the deputy collector of Serilingampally was directed by the RR district collector to take action for removal of encroachments by issuing notices under the Land Encroachment Act and submit an action taken report within 15 days. Bhaskar Reddy and other members of his NGO alleged that till date the encroachments remain and no effort was made to remove them.

    MLA, construction giant encroached 1.3 acres at Nallakunta Lake: Report - The Times of India
  • Metro rail to chug through 66 stations

    HYDERABAD: Design of the metro rail stations have been finalised and in all, the city will have 66 stations at 63 locations, said a press release issued by Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) on Sunday.

    In a first of its kind, all the stations except at Ameerpet, Parade Grounds, and MGBS, will have a cantilever design, that is the station resting only on pillars in the middle with no side pillars. With the entire station resting on only about 10 heavily reinforced central pillars without any pillars on the sides, the road below will look open, spacious and airy, claimed HMRL.

    A two-level - 'concourse level' and 'platform level'- stations will be built with entry and exit facilities for passengers with staircases, escalators and lifts at the road level. Commuters with smart cards or after buying tickets at the counters will enter the 'paid area' through an 'Automatic Fare Collection' ( AFC) gates. After entering the 'paid area', passengers can go to the next level, which is the platform level again through lifts, escalators and staircases to board the train.

    Foolproof security features will be incorporated in the station design with the approval of various security wings of the Union home ministry.

    The main security features include access controlled passenger entry with baggage checking arrangements, CCTV cameras and other surveillance equipment, resembling the tight security at airports. The stations will also be provided with fire protection and fire detection systems. The fire prevention system will be of international standards.

    Metro rail to chug through 66 stations - The Times of India
  • HC relief to state on Kokapet land

    HYDERABAD: In an order that would give huge relief to the state government, the AP High Court on Wednesday nullified two government memos that accorded rights over 1,635 acres of prime land in Kokapet village of Rangareddy district to private parties and upheld another memo that vested this land with the government. Since nearly 100 acres of this land in question were already auctioned by the state a few years ago, the current judgment would enable the state to deliver these land to the successful auction bidders. This may also put an end to a parallel litigation launched by the bidders who wanted a refund of their money as the state could not deliver the plots to them. The division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice R Subhash Reddy pronounced its judgment on an appeal filed by the state which felt aggrieved by the order of a single judge who earlier had held that several successors of Nawab Nusrat Jung Bahadur-1 represented by one K S B Ali have rightful claims over the land. In fact, the single judge had set aside the government memo dated May 21, 2005, that declared this land as government property.

    The division bench in its order upheld the May 21 government memo and nullified two memos that were issued in 2004 as they conferred rights on private parties even without the knowledge of the latter. "They are uncommunicated administrative orders and hence inoperative, inexecutable and sterile. They were not issued in accordance with Article 166(1) of the Constitution, nor were the relevant decisions taken at the specified level of authority in accordance with the rules of the business," the bench said.

    The bench also found fault with KSB Ali who is claiming to be representing the legal heirs of Nawab Nusrat for using the same forum several times for the same remedy despite withdrawing his petition in the Supreme Court. Neither has KSB Ali established by specific pleadings nor by due authorization on record that he is authorized to represent the cause of 203 legal heirs of Nusrat Jung-1 , nor have the other petitioners pleaded or established the basis for their claims, to be the heirs of Nusrat Jung, the bench said. So saying, the bench set aside the single judge order and allowed the state appeals.

    HC relief to state on Kokapet land - The Times of India
  • Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority cracks whip on illegal buildings in gram panchayats

    HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has finally woken up and taken note of the illegal constructions that are mushrooming in the surrounding gram panchayats and is taking action against them. Since the last few days, it has served notices to as many as 3,000 owners and builders of illegal constructions above three floors, function halls, commercial buildings and layouts in four zones of the metropolitan authority. All these illegal constructions do not come under the purview of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

    Initially, one gram panchayat in each of the four zones of Shamshabad, Shankarpally, Medchal and Ghatkesar of the urban development authority was identified and notices were issued for action against the unauthorized structures. The gram panchayats were identified based on the highest number of illegal constructions that had come up in the recent years. For instance, a very high number of illegal structures were noticed in Gurramguda panchayat in Shamshabad zone and Chengicherla village in Ghatkesar zone. As a result, a drive was initiated in these areas.

    Similarly, HMDA has directed its zonal commissioners to identify illegal constructions in other panchayats and serve notices to them. "The authority had served notices to row houses and a gated community venture in Gurramguda which were being constructed without permission from the HMDA. We will continue with the drive and issue notices to other panchayats also," HMDA secretary A Rajeswar Reddy told TOI.

    He said professional college managements have fallen in line after they were served notices and have since then come for regularization. Similarly, the gated community plot owners and row house owners have also taken applications for regularization from the authorities after the notices were served, he said.

    As per the building rules, gram panchayats can give building permissions up to ground plus two floors. If the building is above G+2, the building owner has to take permission from the HMDA under Section 19 of the HMDA Act. The act is applicable for apartments, colleges, function halls, industrial buildings and commercial complexes. But many constructions in the surrounding gram panchayats that do not come under GHMC limits have come up without any permission.

    In some cases, panchayats gave permissions for constructions above two floors. In panchayats like Boduppal, Nizampet and Almasguda, several thousands of unauthorized constructions have come up without any legal sanction. There were allegations that some of the staffers also colluded with the builders and allowed apartments and commercial buildings.

    Since the HMDA does not have any enforcement wing, it has not taken up demolition drive against the errant builders. As of now, the HMDA has been writing to district panchayat officers of Rangareddy and Medak district to demolish illegal constructions in the identified areas and is now planning to open an enforcement wing for taking up demolition drive against builders of unauthorized constructions.

    Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority cracks whip on illegal buildings in gram panchayats - The Times of India
  • Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Water Board under fire for dying Banjara lake

    HYDERABAD: A day after the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) issued a showcause notice to Taj Banjara for discharging sewage into the Banjara lake, civil society groups demanded similar action against the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

    These groups on Monday said that the government departments too were equally responsible for the death of the water body that was once spread over an area of more than one kilometre.

    The lake has now shrunk due to continuous exploitation and has reduced to a marshy patch of land.

    "If the GHMC laid a concrete slab on the lake bed (that suppressed fresh water springs), the Water Board erected some permanent structures on it for sewerage diversions. These structures are non-functional, only adding to the mess.

    "As the sewage now has no outlet, it is collecting in one place and turning the area into a filthy swamp," said Jasveen Jairath, founder convener of Save Our Urban Lakes (Soul), who attended the meeting with PCB officials last week where officials of Taj Banjara were called for questioning.

    In response to Water Board's notice, officials of the star facility on Monday assured the PCB that it would construct a sewage treatment plant (STP) on its premises by the end of this financial year. It claimed that the liquid waste treated in this STP would be reused by the hotel for purposes such as gardening and in toilets.

    This would ensure that no sewerage is dumped into the adjoining lake, the response stated. Taj Banjara generates about 150 kilolitres (kl) of sewage on an average.

    While refusing to comment on the issue of nailing the GHMC and HMWS&SB, PCB officials said that further action would be taken after scrutinizing the hotel's reply.

    "If the response is satisfactory, we will rest the matter or else levy a penalty and might even issue closure order if the violations are not addressed," a senior official said.

    Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Water Board under fire for dying Banjara lake - The Times of India
  • City roads stink as water board sleeps

    HYDERABAD: City roads are stinking due to sewage overflows. Though it is a common phenomenon during the rainy season, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) has turned a blind eye to it.

    The water board's helpline metro customer care (MCC) has been flooded with complaints against sewage overflows on city roads. Between July 1 and July 26, 5,565 complaints about overflowing drains and stinking roads were reported at the MCC.

    "This is the first time over 5,000 complaints have been received in a span of 25 days. Most of the complaints were from Division-I (Goshamahal) in Old City. Locals from Bahadurpura, Doodbowli, Moghalpura, Azampura and Asmangadh as well as business establishments lodged complaints on overflowing sewer lines," an MCC source told TOI.

    Complaints have also been pouring in from surrounding municipal circles such as Kukatpally, Kapra, Qutubullapur, Alwal and Serilingampally. Residents of these areas have complained that nearby water bodies were overflowing due to the recent rain.

    Of the 5,565 complaints received, Water Board officials claim to have addressed around 4,550 complaints. Several complaints were on missing manhole covers.

    Meanwhile, the Water Board has set up 21 emergency response teams (ERTs) to attend complaints like sewage overflowing on roads, missing manhole covers and waterlogging. When contacted, HMWS&SB chief general manager and nodal officer coordinating with the emergency operation centre (EOC) K Ravindranath said, "We are according top priority to complaints. Our ERTs are responding to complaints and solving them. Most of the complaints were from Nagamaiah Kunta, Nadeem Colony and areas near water bodies (tanks)."

    In the last 25 days, around 180 complaints were received on missing manhole covers. Of them, the Water Board sanitary workers replaced covers at 135 locations. "We found that locals were removing manhole covers to allow storm water into the drains. But, after the water gets drained, they are not replacing them," a senior HMWS&SB official said.

    City roads stink as water board sleeps - The Times of India
  • Dharmana Prasada Rao fixed low rate for Vanpic land: CBI

    HYDERABAD: As revenue minister in 2008-09, Dharmana Prasada Rao played a key role in fixing low market price for the Vanpic land, and allowed the strange practice of a private company paying the compensation to farmers for the land that was acquired through the government, and acted more in connivance with prime accused Nimmagadda Prasad rather than acting as the custodian of public interest. These were, according to sources, some of the contents of the CBI chargesheet in the Vanpic case that dealt with the role of Dharmana, accused No. 5 in the Vanpic case.

    According to the chargesheet, Dharmana, who is currently roads and buildings minister in the Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet, rendered several nodal committees, appointed to oversee the land acquisition and other works, irrelevant by himself directly acting in tandem with the other accused in the case. Other accused in the case include infrastructure and investment wing secretaries K V Brahmananda Reddy, Manmohan Singh, and Nimmagadda brothers, Prasad and Prakash.

    The Nimmagadda brothers floated their own company called Vanpic Projects Pvt Ltd and made it look like the official vehicle Vanpic Ports Ltd that was set up to implement the port and industrial corridor project in accordance with the agreement entered into by the states of AP and Ras Al Khaimah. Dharmana was supposed to allow only the official Vanpic Ports Ltd to do the job. But he allowed the Vanpic Projects Ltd, floated by the Nimmagadda brothers, to acquire land and pay compensation etc, the CBI has contended.

    The four GOs issued during Dharmana's stewardship of the revenue department allowed land acquisition for Vanpic, the development of the same through some private players and the fixation of market price apart from allowing private payments by Vanpic company to the land losers. As a result of this, no records were available as to the exact amount of land acquired, the compensation paid to them etc, and allowed the Vanpic Projects to fudge the compensation figures, the chargesheet said.

    Nimmagadda Prasad, as agent of the RAK regime, got Rs 450 crore for acquiring land and had spent only Rs 150 crore for acquiring thousands of acres of lands. The compensation he paid for the farmers was around Rs one lakh per acre. However, the promoter sold the same land at ten to twenty times more than that, the CBI said. According to the chargesheet, the CBI is still trying to ascertain as to what Prasad did with the remaining Rs 300 crore he got from the RAK regime. Though he said that that money was paid as 'goodwill' to various parties, however, it is not clear who were the recipients of the 'generous goodwill'.

    Apart from this, several unanswered questions remained till today as to how the state could allow the transfer of assigned land to private players when the prohibition of transfer (assigned lands) Act prohibits such alienation. Though the state brought about two amendments to the Act keeping in view the Vanpic exclusively, it is shying away from filing a counter in the AP high court for the last five years in a petition that challenged the legal validity of such amendments.

    According to the chargesheet, Dharmana rendered several nodal committees, appointed to oversee the land acquisition and other works, irrelevant by himself directly acting in tandem with the other accused in the case.

    Dharmana Prasada Rao fixed low rate for Vanpic land: CBI - The Times of India
  • Plans afoot for integrated commuter terminal in city

    HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has decided to develop an 'Integrated Commuter Terminal' on the old Gandhi Hospital premises. The proposed terminal will have separate bays for metro rail, suburban trains, MMTS, bus, intermediate para-transit services (taxis and autos) apart from parking and other transit facilities.

    HMDA officials said that the 8.5-acre old Gandhi Hospital land was ideal for an integrated terminal as railway station and bus stops were located in the neighbourhood. A metro rail corridor (JBS-Falaknuma) would be going through the old Gandhi Hospital area. The authority has recently written to the municipal administration and urban development (MA&UD) department to take up the project. The HMDA has now started working on details like facilities required for the terminal and preparing estimations.

    HMDA officials said the Comprehensive Transportation Study (CTS) for Hyderabad metropolitan region, being taken up by LEA Associates, revealed that Secunderabad has become a transport hub for the city with about 5.10 lakh passengers passing through the area every day. Of these, 1.60 lakh use it for interchange between road and rail and the remaining bus-to-bus interchange.

    The study said 80% of railway passengers use bus, MMTS, sub-urban trains to reach their destination, while the remaining opt for private and personalised vehicles. Nearly 40% of total bus trips of APSRTC in the city originate or terminate in Secunderabad area from five locations. Now, except at Rathifile bus stand, there were no planned terminals for bus operations.

    "The study recommended development of an integrated commuter terminal in Secunderabad and the old Gandhi Hospital land is suitable for the same," HMDA metropolitan commissioner Neerabh Kumar Prasad told TOI. HMDA had in 2006 proposed bus terminus-cum-business centre in the vacant land of the old Gandhi Hospital with an estimated cost of Rs 475 crore and requested the MA&UD department for an administrative sanction and allotment of land. However, it was confined to only integration of various bus terminals. In 2008, the authority had called for Expression of Interest-cum-Request for Proposal from bidders to take up the project under Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. As per the plan, all existing seven bus bays in and around Secunderabad station would be brought to a single location. The consultant, engaged by the authority, prepared a plan to construct three basement cellars, ground floor and 23 upper floors with twin towers. Fifty bus bays were planned in the ground floor. HMDA sources said the project could not be taken up as bidders did not come forward due to recession. Also, the land was not transferred to HMDA from the tourism department, which has possession of it.

    Plans afoot for integrated commuter terminal in city - The Times of India