By Syed Qamar Hasan
Hyderabad: Hyderabad city was battered last night by incessant rains, turning the city touted by one of the senior ministers of TRS government, as one of the best to live in the world, into a mishmash of slime, debris, riling flotsam choking drains turning roads to become swimming pools, as vehicular traffic snarled causing severe road jams throwing life out of gear for several hours.
Traffic policemen, municipality staff
And guess what? For nearly an hour after the rains, there was no sign of any traffic policemen and municipality emergency staff at hot spots to supervise the easing of the jams and removing flotsam blocking the drains. All most all roads and overhead bridges where jammed with all kinds of vehicular traffic. And adding to the misery of people was water cascading like a huge waterfall from the newly built overhead bridges at various locations.
Ironically a report on the rains and the chaos it caused carried in a Chennai-based leading English daily compared the flooded roads and by the streets of the city to Venice, a city in Italy. A globally famous Canal City in Northern Italy that attracts millions of tourists to its odor-less waterways lined with classic Gothic UNESCO listed palaces and buildings.
While drain water, flotsam, and slime entered homes and shops in many low-lying areas of the city. The worst hits were houses and housing colonies built on land reclaimed from ponds and lakes in Toli Chowki, Masab Tank, Banjara Hills and adjoining areas. All roads and by-lanes in Banjara Hills were flooded with water gushing in God knows from where. This diarist was caught in a jam on Road No 10, Star Hospital and to reach City Centre signal it took an hour and 30 minutes. An old-timer caught in mess cribbed “ Saaley naloon aur talaboon per gharan aur buidingaan banaley tu yeech honga”( This is bound to happen the, buggers have built houses and complexes on ponds, lakes , and rills)
The said newspaper management should send its reporter and copy editor to Venice to get the first-hand glimpse of what Venice looks like even during high tide.
Yesterdays rains and the chaos that followed were not for the first time that Hyderbadees witnessed and experienced.
Every monsoon the city gets to face one or two cats and dogs pour. And each time we have the concerned Minister and GHMC officials giving assurances that all will be set right and work will be undertaken to prevent the flooding. And yet much to the discommode and anxiety of the people the calamity and disaster happen again and again during monsoons. So much so that the month of September is sarcastically rhymed with the Urdu word “ SITAMGAR’ that means to be an oppressor /tormentor.
The traffic police and the emergency squads of the GHMC still lack the proper equipment to tackle such situations. last night it was quite obvious, those on duty, some of them were probably from private agencies had no proper gear like reflector vests and traffic batons for use in such a situation.
Mehboob Ali Pasha
Every year September 28, is religiously remembered by the media, social activists and some Nizams’ loyalists as a calamitous day in the year 1908, when the river Musi broke its bank’s flooding and submerging several regions of the city. And how the then ruler Mehboob Ali pasha, the V1 Nizam took exemplary measures to prevent a repeat of the disaster.
It is said that Mehboob Ali Pasha stepped out of the comfort of his palace and visited the flooded regions, unmindful of the mud, slime, debris, and risk of exposure to waterborne diseases comforting the victims.
Probably expecting such an approach from our present-day rulers would be most unlikely. Except that there will be press statements assuring rapid actions to repair the damage.