Hyderabad: The state government has shelved the Musi Rejuvenation and Beautification Project despite spending crores on the much-publicised venture, and annually paying Rs 3.15 crore as salary to employees of Musi Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (MRDCL) for six years.
The decision to abandon the project “for the time being” came after MRDCL board of directors met on August 28. It came in the wake of Rs 2-crore expenditure incurred by the corporation on river development works getting washed away in recent incessant rains. Citing urban flooding occurring every year, authorities said they would go ahead with the riverfront project only after preparing a detailed project report (DPR).
Though the project had first been conceived in 2006, successive governments ignored it. Finally, MRDCL was constituted on March 25, 2017, after repeated complaints of pollution by residents living alongside the Musi.
The government allocated to the corporation Rs 377.35 crore in 2017-18, but it spent only Rs 0.32 crore. Though the allocation remained the same in the subsequent years, MRDCL spent Rs 2.8 crore in 2018-19 and similar meagre amounts in the subsequent financial years too.
In July 2020, amid the Covid-19 lockdown; MRDCL developed a few patches on banks of River Musi – 3.5 km from Nagole to Kothapet, 3 km in Uppal Bhagat, 2 km from Chaderghat to Puranapul and about 2 km near Muslim Jung Bridge. Officials said they have spent Rs 9 crore on these.
But key elements of Musi Rejuvenation and Beautification Project remained on paper. Neither were sewerage treatment plants (STPs) built to arrest odour and stench emanating from the river, nor bunds strengthened after being washed out in flash floods of October last year and July-August this year.
MRDCL officials now say the government has asked them not to go ahead with the project until instructed to do so. A senior corporation official said the government has ordered them to shelve the project until a DPR is prepared. When asked how much time it will take for preparation of DPR, the official merely said it will not see light of the day during the current year.