City's Internal roads have 3L potholes; GHMC claims no money to repair them

Deccan Chronicle.  | Maddy Deekshith

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Civic body needs `1,500 crore to fund repair of internal roads

The sources claimed that there won’t be any improvement until the GHMC weeds out corrupt field employees robbing public funds in the name of road repairs.(DC file photo)

Hyderabad: A startling three lakh potholes in the internal roads and more than 4,000 potholes in the arterial stretches were formed as a result of the recent torrential rains in the city according to a comprehensive report submitted by the field staff, exposing the GHMC’s road-laying plans and tall promises of providing good roads.

Officials said the corporation needs a staggering `1,500 crore just this year to repair the battered internal roads spread over 8,000 km. According to officials, the localities with the most potholes in Hyderabad's western region include LB Nagar, Rajendranagar, Serilingampally, Kukatpally and Miyapur.

"We have begun fixing the potholes on main roads. The corporation has so far fixed almost 3,000 of the 4,000 potholes that were created by the non-stop rain. The corporation is short of money despite the urgent need to repair the roads. A high-level meeting will be held later this week on road repair. The GHMC commissioner will take a call on fixing more than three lakh potholes," a senior GHMC official stated.

According GHMC official reports, an astounding 6,470 cross-cuttings were found on these roads for the laying of several utility lines for water supply, sewerage and telecommunication, among others.  The majority of these were dug up by the HMWS&SB, which went on a spree of giving water and sewage connections and enhancing the capacity of existing ones.

The corporation's engineering (maintenance) section is in-charge of carrying out the annual maintenance of the internal roads, as opposed to the Comprehensive Road Maintenance Plan (CRMP). Under the CRMP, 810 km of major roads had been entrusted to six agencies.  The civic body has been spending `1,839 crore for maintaining the arterial roads. However, for three years, the civic authorities have overlooked the defect liability clause, which mandates that the private agency repair the roads that have been damaged for five years.

Official sources claim that field employees in cahoots with private contractors have been encouraging line departments, notably HMWSSB, to dig roads in the name of maintenance works to siphon off public funds. The sources claimed that there won’t be any improvement until the GHMC weeds out corrupt field employees robbing public funds in the name of road repairs. Sources revealed that the line departments would immediately make new plans to dig the roads after they were repaired.

According to a senior GHMC official who spoke to Deccan Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, the issue won't be fixed until the corporation applies defect liability clauses to internal roads like the CRMP does with main roads. He claimed that if the clause is put into effect, the contractor in charge of the road project will be held accountable for five years, and other departments would work in tandem with the GHMC.

For instance, the corporation is unable to restore any road in Kapra since the HMWS&SB dug all of the roads in the guise of sewer line maintenance, a source revealed. He claimed that when the GHMC lays the road the sewerage board will dig them up. While the HMWS&SB officials argue that the capacity of the sewer lines has to be enhanced to cater to the city needs. When asked why bitumen roads are laid, given they are easily ruined, the corporation official said that bitumen is a cost-effective material. According to him, cement concrete roads cost `50 lakh per kilometre but are more durable than BT roads which cost about Rs.35 lakh.