GHMC launches clean-up drive, ignores own errors

Civic body has installed several amenities on footpaths.

Hyderabad: Ignoring its own workers placing sign boards and traffic signals on footpaths, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has decided to embark on a special drive to remove bill boards from footpaths in other places. This apart, corporation officials have ignored municipal administration and urban development principal secretary Arvind Kumar’s instructions to remove hindrances on footpaths within 100 metres from the Secretariat buildings, even after six months.

The corporation has accorded permission to set up toilets on the footpaths including the modernised toilets maintained by the civic body itself. However, GHMC commissioner M. Dana Kishore asked to remove encroachments, particularly billboards, citing gusty winds during the ensuing monsoon.

During January, Mr Kumar, after identifying the Loo Cafe near Secretariat, alerted civic body officials and asked them to remove it as it was hindering the free movement of pedestrians. However, six months have passed and corporation officials are yet to remove the encroachment on the footpath on NTR Marg. This apart, former municipal administration minister K.T. Rama Rao, in July last year, directed officials to serve notices on establishments which use footpaths to display their products and also to Transco over installing transformers on footpaths.

He asked them to cancel the trade licences of outlets which repeatedly encroach on the footpaths. He asked the officials to lay special focus on establishments and outlets which construct permanent structures on footpaths and occupy the space meant for pedestrians. Mr Rao wanted the drive to be intensified without affecting the livelihood of hawkers and pushcart vendors.

Contradicting the instr-uctions from the higher authorities, highly placed sources in the GHMC said, the corporation staff has neither relocated any transformer from footpaths nor issued notices to the Transco. Removal of encroachments from footpaths also exhibited bias. This was quite evident at NTR Marg, Mettuguda, Husbiguda, Amberpet, Khairatabad and a few other areas. Sources said that the corporation even installed build operate transfer (BoT) toilets and accorded permission to other nodal agencies like HMRL to set up toilets on footpaths in all three metro corridors. It has even erected signboards on footpaths which have been hindering the free movement of pedestrians.

Mr Kishore held a review meeting and asked the deputy commissioners to remove all billboards and encroachments which hinder the free passage of pedestrians. He asked them to conduct a special drive to remove them in a week. Mr Kishore said that the billboards could collapse due to gusty winds during the upcoming monsoon.

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