Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao impressed a large audience of architects and urban planners at ‘Arch Dakshin’, the Southern Regional Conference of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) conceding some of their demands and doing a candid talk of the ‘sad state of affairs’ of cities across the country.

The demands included setting up of panels of architects in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the Hyderabad Municipal Development Authority, including the Cyberabad Development Authority. He promised that the Telangana chapter of IIA would be entrusted the task of selecting architects in these panels rather than the government itself ‘cherry-picking’ a few.

Also, he said he would ensure that the position of Chief Architects in several government departments and civic bodies, including the Roads and Buildings was filled up. Telangana, the youngest State of the country and also Hyderabad, he said, were part of the endeavour to bring the share of urban population from the current 42 per cent, to at least 50 per cent. Like most cities, he said that Hyderabad was ill-equipped to handle situations like a cloudburst and the subsequent flooding.

“Can Hyderabad handle such a crisis? I have my own doubts, what with its unstructured and haphazard growth. We are a land-locked State and have plenty of land so the ideal approach would be to have clusters around the cities. A major challenge is our need to preserve the deep-rooted culture, heritage and tradition of Hyderabad and the rest of the State on one hand, while encouraging the increasing interest shown in the city with new age industries in the IT, defence and aerospace sectors that are knocking on our doors,” he said, to applause.