Hyderabad: “If you enter Yakutpura and its surrounding areas, you will wonder if this is a part of the twin cities. Decade after decade, year after year, the localities of Old City are untouched by development.
There are narrow, broken encroached streets and lanes everywhere, full of vehicular traffic, absence of town planning, stinking garbage littered everywhere, drainage water overflowing and inundating the colonies, especially during the rainy season, horrible traffic congestion and several other problems,” said T Sriharsha (name changed on request), a corporate professional, who lives in New Santhoshnagar Colony under Yakutpura Constituency.
Ironically, right opposite the prominent graffiti on the rail bridge, which says, “Welcome to Yakutpura, I (love) Rein Bazar,’ a stinking and garbage-strewn nalla will greet the eyes. The colony roads are so narrow that an ambulance will have a tough time lifting patients in case of an emergency.
‘Decades of neglect kept the area under-developed’
“At least, I live in a slightly better area but I can feel the stark difference between this part of Old City and the remaining residential colonies and commercial areas of Secunderabad and Hyderabad because I commute to Hi-Tech city for work. When my friends from Bengaluru or other parts of Secunderabad and Hyderabad visit my place, they are shocked at the lack of development and dirt in the area. It’s a shame that though this constituency is situated in the vicinity of so many world-famous heritage structures such as the Charminar, Salar Jung Museum, and Nizam’s Museum, it is in a pathetic state. Even my native place Siddipet is better and cleaner than the Old City,” added Sriharsha, who has been staying in Yakutpura for 22 years.
People have been plagued by a plethora of civic problems for years
Ask any resident about the civic issues plaguing them and they reply, “Is there any civic issue that doesn’t bother us? No. You name it and we have it.’
Mohammed Riyaz, a resident near the Yakutpura Railway Station, said: “There is no proper, centralized drainage system, so whenever it rains, the entire area gets inundated due to the age-old sewerage system. The water accumulation and the garbage make the locality very insalubrious. We residents, especially the children, are always suffering from various ailments because of the garbage and sewerage water contamination and mosquito menace. The municipal workers do not come daily but turn up every three to four days to partially clear the garbage. Not providing dust bins has escalated the garbage problem too. Added to it is the stray dog menace, lots of beggars and thefts, which enhance our problem, especially when streetlights are non-functional.”
A flower vendor Azhar Khan has his shop near the Rein Bazar area of Yakutpura area by the side of a narrow pothole-filled road. “The entire road stretch is in bad condition and there are no footpaths either. During the whole year, the politicians disappear, but only during the elections, do the local leaders and the MLA visit the areas seeking votes. There has been no improvement in the condition of the broken, narrow roads since the past several years through the population and vehicular traffic have increased manifold.”
‘We don’t hope for a positive change’
Dejected residents have no hope of any solution to their woes. They blame both the lack of political will as well as the under-educated masses who are not keen on development.
Mir Kaisar, who runs a flour mill and has been living in the area for more than two decades, said, “Despite repeated complaints to the GHMC, civic authorities, and local leaders, there has been no change in the civic situation in our constituency since the last 25 years – drainage, flooding, garbage, street lights, terribly narrow roads and lanes encroached by houses and shops – everything is in a bad shape. Even for the lure of votes, nothing changes.”
Sriharsha said, “There is a clear lack of political will to improve the backward, under-developed Old City Area. For decades, the same party ruled here and they are confident that whether they address the civic issues or not, whether they develop Old City or not, they are anyway confident that with the minority votes, they are going to win the elections as most of the people are not much educated, neither do question the unapproachable politicians or leaders about basic infrastructure development in this area.”
“The people here also are more prone to vote on religious lines, not for real development. They do not demand good clinics and schools for the residents of Yakutpura but are more concerned about protecting middle-of-the-road temples and dargahs that obstruct widening of the roads and clearing the congestion,” he said.
An overview of Yakutpura Constituency, which has around 3.30 lakh voters
Yakutpura is an Assembly Constituency and forms part of the Hyderabad Assembly Constituency. As per the office of the state chief election officer (CEO), this Assembly Constituency has 3,30,671 electors. Some of the areas close to Yakutpura are Dabeerpura, Rein Bazar, Madannapet, Bada Bazar etc. Most of the famous historic landmarks are located in and around the Charminar area, which is in the vicinity of Yakutpura. A majority of residents are middle and lower-middle-class traders, mechanics, and small vendors, who run small businesses, repair shops, tailoring, and eateries.
Since 1999, AIMIM candidates have been consistently winning in the Constituency. For one term (1994-1999), Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT) had won the seat.
The incumbent MLA is Syed Ahmed Pasha Quadri from AIMIM. He won the last elections with 49.07 % votes, defeating Sama Sundar Reddy of TRS who secured 15.95 % votes followed by MBT’s Majeed Ullah Khan who got 14.96 % votes.
For the upcoming elections, 27 candidates are contesting from Yakutpura out of which 14 are Independent candidates. Jaffar Hussain from AIMIM, N Boyina Veerender Babu from BJP, K Ravi Raj from INC, Sama Sunder Reddy from BRS, and Amjed Ullah Khan from Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT) are other key contestants. It remains to be seen if MBT, INC, or any other party can make a dent in the AIMIM stronghold.