Warangal a historically, culturally and intellectually significant city of Telangana—is all set to emerge as a counter-magnet city to the state capital — Hyderabad. Following selection under the ambitious “Smart Cities Mission” of the Centre, the State Government’s plan for its second- biggest city has gained impetus, shares Sarfaraz Ahmed, Commissioner of the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation, in a conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN)
Warangal has been shortlisted for the Centre’s Smart Cities Mission. What significance does it hold for Telangana’s second-biggest city?
Warangal has been one of the two head – quarters for the erstwhile Hyderabad state. Aurangabad being another. It was already functioning as a second capital for about 400 years and before Nizams, Kakatiyas ruled the Warangal. Culturally, it becomes significant for the state of Telangana. Intellectually, it served as the backbone of Telangana movement, as most of the intellectuals linked with were of Warangal origin. Majority of the intellectual argument for Telangana movement occurred here.
If we look at the entire Telangana with Hyderabad in exclusion, Warangal city has medical college, an education university and prestigious National Institute of Technology. Outside Hyderabad, the first super specialty hospital is coming up in Warangal. Also, after Hyderabad, it is the second biggest city of the state while other cities here are one-third of it. All this bespeaks it cultural, historical and intel- lectual significance.
What area-based development plans have been decided as part of the Smart City project for the city?
Area-based projects have focus on development of Badrakali Bund. And, the adjoining hillocks areas put together are spread over an area of 1,200 acres and situated in the center of the town. I doubt if other cities or towns can brag of such a huge space for lake in heart of the town.
The strategy is to develop lakefront into a public space. Further, it will have extended business space. As part of the SPV-funded projects: HRIDAY Components at a cost र 45 crore; solid waste management, storm water drain, water supply and sewerage projects costing र 229 crore; power and renewable energy projects costing र 232 crore; retrofit – ting of roads in retrofitting area costing र 572 crore; affordable housing for poor costing र 100 crore; development of infrastructure facilities at land pool area costing र 124 crore. Under the PPP mode: redevelopment of TSRTC Bus Stand and Depot, costing र 620 crore; parking and commercial development projects costing र 375 crore. Since Warangal is also eligible for central schemes like AMRUT, it has adequate scope of funding for infra – structure development.
Can you share about the pan- city components and smart e-governance solutions that would come up as part of the smart development plan?
As part of the pan-city components – Intelligent Transportation System along Warangal Life Line Corridor and smart solution for e-governance, costing र 238 crore is planned. As part of the pancity solution, we wanted to converge all the government utility services in single platform and citizens can avail them through a common service card. Moreover, IT-enabled smart infrastructure smart costing र 48 crore and other projects include rain water harvesting, solar panels, development of open spaces etc. costing र 98 crore are part of the smart solutions.
The state government intends to develop Warangal into a vibrant regional economic hub. Can you shed some light on the plans underway and work done in this regard?
Industrially, Warangal will be developed as a counter magnet to Hyderabad in a twin city model like Pune, a counter-magnet city reference to Bombay. Mysore is counter magnet to Bangalore. State government also has development approach plan for Warangal like adapted for suburbs of Delhi including Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad. In this perspective, the plans which are already afoot are a textile park, set to come up in 2000-3000 acres. Even in the Nizam period there was a major textile mill ‘Azam Jahi Mills’ here and handlooms and weaving were the major occupation in Warangal. However, over the period it slowly came down. The place used to be the biggest market for cotton purchase. Now, the state government wants to revive that glory.
Due to major railway junction in Warangal and possibility of airport being set up, textile cluster appears to hold good potential. A four-lane 99-km Yadgiri-Warangal section of National Highway will be in making that connects Warangal and Hyderabad. The development of the stretch will expedite improvement of infrastructure and will also reduce the time and cost of travel for traf – fic, particularly heavy traffic, plying on the Yadgiri-Warangal sector.
It is looked up as a move to uplift the region’s socio-economic condition in the state and it would also increase employment potential. Further, Outer Ring Road has been planned for the city to connect key areas in the districts.
Industrially, Warangal will be developed as a counter-magnet to Hyderabad in a twin city model like Pune, a counter-magnet city reference to Mumbai
What is the proposed ORR and development strategy adopted by the state government to give socio-economic boost to Warangal?
The Outer Ring Road (ORR) was planned keeping in view growth and needs of the tri-cities of the district including Warangal-Hanamkonda-Kazipet and adja cent 144 villages. The work for the ORR would commence soon by the state government. The 73-km ORR around the Warangal city will have 100 to 150-feet radial roads. As part of the proposal of Kakatiya Urban Development Authority (KUDA), multi-level bridges at five junctions on the ring road and to widen the existing roads NIT to Arepally, Public Gar – dens to Hasanparthy, Rampur to Hanamkonda Chowrastha, Pochamma Maidan to Dharma- ram and others to 150 feet to meet the future needs, are planned. Further, under programme ‘Plan our Warangal’, the chief minister intends to establish a well-designed vegetable, fruit, meat and fish markets, housing for the slums dwellers, play-grounds, public spaces and plantation to meet the needs of a growing population.
Is Telangana Government keen on enhancing tourist appeal of Warangal?
The Tourism Department is keen to boost the heritage and spiritual tourism circuits in Warangal. Narasimhaswamy temple at Yadagirigutta, Jain temple at Kolanupaka, and the Thousand Pillar temple and Bhadrakali temple at Warangal are part of the spiritual tourism circuit along the Kolanupaka, Pal – akurthi, Bhadrakali and Padmakshi temples in the district.
The restoration work of the Natya Mandapam (dance hall) at Thousand Pillars temple, commenced six years ago, is still underway.