Hyderabad: IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao on Sunday said the TRS government was working to improve civic infrastructure and it would be a continuous process as urbanisation and sub-urbanisation were constant.
“In the last six years, the State government has focused on improving the power situation in the State. Industry had then seen power holidays due to shortage of power,” he said, at an interactive session on Brand Hyderabad organised by HYSEA.
Stating that Hyderabad is now home to people from across the world, the Minister said the first thing that TRS did after coming to power in 2014 was to ensure that the interests of all sections of people were taken into account. “Our Chief Minister has shown extraordinary maturity in dealing with the situation. We fought for a separate State but once the State became a reality, we took an inclusive approach and did not show any prejudice or bias towards anyone. Everyone here is seen as the son of the soil,” he said, adding that this helped in Hyderabad and the State becoming an investment magnet.
Urging the youth to come out and vote in the GHMC elections, he said: “The elections are a chance to choose your leadership and make your voice heard. Please vote for the right party. If you do not like any candidate, at least use the ‘none of the above’ option but please vote. If you do not vote, it will be of no avail to crib and complain on social media. It is our duty and responsibility to vote. If you vote, click a selfie and tag me,” he said.
On the government initiatives to develop the capital, he said about Rs 6,000 crore was spent to take up construction of flyovers, under bridges, foot over bridges and other such amenities under the Strategic Road Development Programme. The government is also taking up link and missing roads to decongest the city, and had recently opened link roads from ESCI to Khajaguda and from Old Mumbai Road to Road No 45. In all, 137 link roads are being taken up. “These will be the alternates to bypass the main roads and avoid congestions,” he said.
In another initiative – CRMP – about 750 km of main roads are being taken up. About 300 km is already done and the remaining will be done by March. The contractors doing these works will be responsible for the maintenance for five years, the minister said adding that about Rs 1,800 crore is being spent on this.
The State government, Rama Rao said, had solved about 90 per cent of water crises by creating an alternate source of drinking water. Hyderabad gets water from Godavari (200 Km) and Krishna (160 km). Now, the focus is to integrate both of these to ensure assured drinking water supply. A water grid is being created around the Outer Ring Road to interconnect the two rivers. So far, 28 km water pipeline has been laid. The TRS Government is also creating a dedicated water reservoir — Kesavapuram — with a 6.5 tmc capacity. This is double the capacity of the more than 100-year Gandipet reservoir serving Hyderabad. Kesavapuram along with Kondapochamma Sagar and Mallanna Sagar will assure drinking water supply to the city at least till 2050.
The drainage and storm water system is being strengthened in the periphery for the last three to four years at a cost of about Rs 2,000 crore. The underground drainage network is being strengthened at a cost of Rs 3,700 crore, he said, adding that storm water channels in the core city are also being improved. The recent cloud burst in the city has resulted in a rain of 30 cm on a single day, the previous highest was in 1916. The current storm water network can handle a rain of just 2 cm.
On water body encroachments, he said greed and neglect are the main reasons. However, the government has now initiated a Strategic Nala Development Programme to take up the required works to ensure that flooding does not happen again. It will need Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 15,000 over time. “Global cities are not built in a time. They need time. There are some legacy issues. We are not here to blame anyone. We do not have a magic wand but we have an intent and the seriousness to build, and to improve. They might need six to seven years,” he said adding that the Government will take feedback from the ward-level committees.
Growth in dispersion policy
The government has come up with an Integrated Township Policy that will encourage development of self-contained townships that promote – live, work, play, learn projects around the Outer Ring Road. These will reduce the burden on the core city. The government has also brought in a Growth in Dispersion Policy which gives additional incentives to companies creating employment opportunities in the city (except in the western part). The Phase I of the metro rail is complete barring a 5 km stretch in the old city. Phase2 will also begin soon and this will enhance the connectivity from Chandannagar to Lakdikapul. There are also plans to connect the Shamshabad airport with the metro rail.
The IT exports were Rs 57,000 crore in 2015 and has now grown to Rs 1,28,000 crore this year. “We were lagging in exports and wanted to double the exports in five years. While it looked line an audacious target then, we achieved it easily. The first question we asked ourselves is what is preventing us from achieving our potential and we worked on the missing links,” Rao said adding that the focus once again was on maintaining law and order situation, creating a pool of skilled manpower and creating progressive policies.
Top companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and several marquee names have set up their operations here on a massive scale. “Hyderabad has the potential. We lacked in positioning it the right way. Once we started doing it, the results are different,” he said, crediting the success to the youngsters working and investors.
Explaining about Amazon’s plans in the city, KTR said the State first began the interactions six years ago when it chose to set up its fulfillment centre in Bengaluru. “We explained that Telangana understood e-commerce and promised to work together in tax-related matters. Jayesh Ranjan and his team have worked to get Amazon set up its fulfillment centre in Hyderabad. We again interacted with Amazon at Seattle and Davos and that resulted in it deciding to set up its 3 million sqft office in Hyderabad. After that, they gained confidence. We again met them at Davos for further negotiations and incentives. We succeeded in clinching the deal and Amazon decided to set up its data centre (Amazon Web Services) here in Hyderabad,” said KTR.
“Telangana is the most successful startup State in independent India,” he said adding that hunger and passion to create an impact has been driving the multiple successes. “We had to prove a point to many naysayers. There are no half measures when it comes to protecting and promoting Telangana’s interests,” the Minister said adding that the focus now is on 3Ds — digitisation, decarbonisation and decentralisation.
Post-Covid, the focus of people will be on health and hygiene and in this direction there will be a shift to electric vehicles to reduce the carbon emissions. Telangana has a new electric vehicle policy and the State has succeeded in attracting investments of more than Rs 3,000 crore on the inaugural day of the policy. Many big EV manufacturers including two-wheeler and three-wheeler makers are setting up their operations, said KTR.
Food processing, textiles
TS now has more supply than demand and has a scope to nurture food processing. It can cater to other States as well and food processing has the potential to up the exports from the State. Several special food processing zones will come up the district level. The State is also setting up the biggest textile park in Warangal. There is a commitment for eight factories to create employment for 12,000 people. Also, Hyderabad, due to its central location, has big potential in logistics,
Aerospace and defence
Stressing that Hyderabad companies are seeing good traction in the aerospace and defence segment. “Even the US President’s helicopter cabinets are made in Hyderabad,” he said. “I don’t know who the US the President is,” he said in a lighter vein referring to the recent election results and the developments in the US. Elaborating on the strengths of Hyderabad, he further said Kalyani-Rafael has chosen the city for its missile factory. “The entire defence ecosystem is present in Hyderabad. About 10 PSUs are present and there are more than 1,000 MSMEs which are part of the ecosystem,” he said. Mentioning about Azad, a Hyderabad-based company, the minister said it has bagged many orders. Two others companies have also contributed precision components to space projects and also to components to a sub-marine project. “The big names are here and the success of homegrown MSMEs augurs well for the industry. Hyderabad has an innate strength and ability to create entrepreneurs,” KTR said.
The good work being done by the Covid warriors including the police, health, sanitation workers and others has come in for praise by the industry. Bharani Aroll, president of Hysea, who moderated the interaction, said the IT industry had been recovering about 1.5 times faster than the other cities from the impact of Covid. The industry moved to work from home in about ten days mainly due to the coordination of multiple departments of the government.
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