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Master Plan For Greater Hyderabad By Theo. W. La. Touche.

Ever since Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth king of Golconda, founded Hyderabad city (originally known as Bhagyanagar after the king's favourite mistrees, Bhagyamati), Hyderabadis have been fond of proudly alluding to their city as Farkunda Bunyad, literally “Auspicious Foundation’, or the City of Joy. Indeed, the epithet is fully justified by old records, which show that in laying out the walled city and designing its stately palaces and pavilions the king and his planners not only displayed a sense of symmetry and aesthetics, but had in view the health and welfare of the inhabitants. To

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Windsor, in fact, has one of the lowest per capita debenture debts of any Canadian city, due mainly to the remarkable reduction of debt from $31.6 million in 1959 to $18.1 million in 1962—despite large capital expenditure in the meantime.

The per capita reduction has been from $307.80 to $159.36, and expressed as a percentage of assessment, the debt has dropped from 33.44% to 4.14 percent. The net debenture debt is $109.15 per capita—only 3.02% of the city's taxable assessment.

To-day Windsor is big business. It is a bustling, thriving municipal corporation with a current budget of $20.3 million, of which $5.2 million is for education.

To control and administer such a budget requires an executive with experience, skill and wisdom plus plenty of patience and tact, because Windsor’s chief administrator must run the city while remaining aloof from politics and subordinating himself always to the policies established by his municipal council.

It is unlikely that people of Windsor will refute the words of Mayor Michael Patrick :

“I never, never, never want to go back to the board of control system. We are very fortunate to have a fine man as our city manager, and the system works very well. It's the best thing that ever happened to Windsor l’’

quote the historian Ferishta, who visited it, “All the roads run parallel and water channels, or canals, are found on either sides throughout the streets, and have avenues of trees planted alongside them.”

The city was then indeed a “Garden Ctiy”, as described by other distinguished writers who had visited it, besides Ferishta. Thanks to the absence of a separate organisation, like our modern municipality, in those days to regulate and control civic affairs, the city expanded without let or hindrance in a higgledy-piggledy manner, with the hovels of the poor sandwiched between the palaces of the rich. Today, six centuries after it was founded, the city presents a spectacle of chaos and confusion worse confounded, and reminds one of the poet Cowley’s line : “God the first garden made, and Cain the first city 1" Like an ancient tree with twisted and tortured limbs, it sprawls over 75 square miles of territory, and can no longer be called Farkunda Bunyad, or “Garden City’ by any stretch of the imagination.

Plan Origin

Although there might have been a lot of talk about remodelling the city and making it more fit for human habitation after the disastrous floods of the Musi river in 1908, no official action seems to have been taken to solve the problem of bringing order out of chaos, and lopping off the crooked limbs of the ancient tree by adopting modern town-planning techniques. Nothing was done in the matter until 1938, when Sir Wilfred Grigson, one of the British officers who were appointed cabinet ministers by the Nizam under the “advice” of the paramount power, conceived the idea of drawing up a plan for reshaping the city. He it was who instituted the Department of Town Planning, which has now evolved into the directorate of Town and Country Planning. At the same time Sir Wilfred put Mr. M. Fayazuddin, a highly qualified officer possessing diplomas, foreign and Indian, for architecture and town planning, in charge of the new department. In the capacity of Director of Town Planning as well as State architect, Mr. Fayazuddin

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set to work in real earnest and started a preliminary survey of the city and suburbs. It took him three years to prepare a detailed “Master Plan for Greater Hyderabad,” (which of course includes Secunderabad), at a cost of Rs. 5 lakhs. Quite recently he submitted the Master Plan for approval to the Municipal Corporation as well as the StateGovernment.

Mr. Fayazuddin has been known to me for about the last thirty years, and in an interview he granted me the other day, he disclosed to me that he and his directorate were primarily responsible for charting the layout of a Greater Hyderabad, showing how the city should be remodelled, but they had nothing to do with the actual financing and implementing the project. This, he emphatically declared, was entirely the responsibility of the various departments of the Government, the Municipal Corporation and other private agencies. However, it was within the province of the Town Planning Directorate to undertake the designing of the ground-plan and architecture of new buildings to be constructed by the Government and other agencies when called upon to do so, within the orbit of the Master Plan which extends to an area of 120 square miles within which provision has been made for all conceivable civic amenities. The directorate has, during the last 25 years, designed stately buildings for housing drivate as well as public institutions. Some of these have already been constructed and others are under construction or pending.

Use of Sites

He laid stress on the fact that the most important function of the planners was to guide the future expansion on systematic lines, as well as to reshape the existing city with full consideration for the right use of land available, and sites for specific purposes. He said that it would seriously impede the implementation of the Master Plan if rich people were allowed to exploit the land available for development with impunity, with the sole purpose of amassing wealth, and without any consideration of the good of the general public. This, he emphatically asserted, was extremely harmful. It not only jeopardised the healthy and sound develop

ment of rhe city, but would, if not nipped in the bud, create almost insuperable difficulties in rectifying the mistakes, imposing a heavy financial burden on the Government and the Municipal Corporation, which would have a separate unit for carrying the plan into effect.

He told me that he had warned the Government that unless top priority was given to the immediate acquisition of land, the execution of the Master Plan within a measurable distance of time would be rendered almost impossible. Therefore, he had impressed it on the authorities that no time must be lost in preventing people from constructing houses helter-skelter on all available spaces, as they were now doing. He said he had reeommended to the Chief Minister, not only the passing of urgently needed legislation for town planning in Andhra Pradesh, but the creation of a planning authority on the lines adopted for the Delhi Master Plan, together with a subcommittee of the cabinet, to save a very grave situation.

Long Process

Judging from the giant-size chart of the Master Plan for Greater Hyderabad, which figured prominently in the Exhibition of Town and Country Planning and Architecture, recently inaugurated at the Planning Dire ctorate by the Chief Minister, it appeared to me that the task of remodelling the city and bringing order out of chaos is colossal, and would require a Hercules to accomplish it. The spadework needed for the clearance of the innumerable squalid slums alone would be like the cleansing of the Augean Stables by Hercules, unless the stables or slums, are not allowed to be choked up with filth again, as lands cleared of basties have at endency of being occupied by mudgies again in spite of gods, men and columns, it would be wasted labour. Our Municipal Corporation does not evidently know of the wisdom contained in the homely saying. “First things First”, as it has so far made no effort to clear the sites required for the Master Plan to materialise, of malodorous basties, and is keen on widening roads instead. Wide roads for the increased volume of traffic are certainly needed, but even the work of widening roads

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For Other Towns

It is noteworthy that after the formation of Andhra Pradesh, the Directorate of Town Planning had in 1959 organised two regional units, one in charge of the preparation of the Master Plan for Greater Hoderabad, and the other in charge of drawing up Master Plans for nine selected urban towns. So far, three plans have been finalised for the important towns of Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Vijayawada. Charts of these plans were displayed at the exhibition, together with models of remodelled villages both in the Andhra and the Telangana regions. Plans for six more towns were also nearing completion, but the work had to be suspended owing to the disbandment of the regional units for want of funds. I understand that steps are being taken to see that town planning and housing activitics in the districts are pursued by the Panchayat Samitis.

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