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Friday, June 10, 2016

As Monsoon Looms, Falling Statues May Add To Hyderabad's Woes

By SHEENA SHAFIA | INNLIVE

Every monsoon brings with it tales of inundated roads and open manholes in the city. If these issues were not enough, this time around, city residents have another reason to worry - collapsing statues.

Recently , a statue of poetsaint Annamaiah was almost dislodged from its pedestal on Tank Bund Road when heavy gale winds wreaked havoc across the city. Adding to the dismay of people, this was not an isolated incident, with several cases of statues collapsing and tilting being reported from across the city.

According to officials from the Met department, during the recent showers, wind speeds to the tune of 70 to 100 km per hour were recorded in the city . "There are high chances that this effect might continue even during the monsoon season," said a senior official of the department.

While citizens remain concerned about their safety, of ficials of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), roads and buildings department and the district collectorate, hardly seem per seem perturbed about the issue.

According to RTI activists, who RTI activists, who sought information about illegal statues from the GHMC, there are as many as 200 il legal stat ues across the city. After conducting hysical check a physical check recently, they allege that most of these statues are on the verge of collapsing. "They (GHMC) failed to respond as to how many of them (statues) are structurally stable to handle any natural disaster," said Murali Mohan, an RTI activist.Highlighting the dangers of collapsing structures, he added that in case there is heavy rainfall, usually motorists stop and wait under a tree. Especially on the Tank Bund Road, He said, this makes them vulnerable as the area has many statues and structures that are not strong enough. "Going by the response we received from the civic officials, we can say that they do not conduct any structural stability check on these structures," he added.

Not just RTI activists, even urban planning experts rue the lack of coordination and planning among civic authorities, and say a lax attitude could have deadly repercussions for motorists and passers-by . "These structures are made of flimsy material and are only held in place with iron-rods on the inside. The GHMC must hope that no accidents take place, or else they will be held responsible," said, J Kumaraswamy, secretary, Greater Hyderabad Residents' Forum.

When contacted, officials from the civic body said there were responsible for only 75 statues. However, guidelines have a different tale to tell. According to rules, the GHMC is supposed to accord permission for statues in its standing committee meetings. "During my term as the Mayor we had forwarded only two requests to the then state government. The permissions are since pending," Majid Hussain, former mayor, told INNLIVE. 
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