Hyderabad: The state government’s effort to put systems in place to provide clean governance is being undermined by local political leaders, scribes and lower-rung officials.
The government has provided builders the facility to get online permission for construction.
In the recent Municipal Act, the state government went a step further, and allowed citizens to self-assess and self-certify their properties.
Despite this, those intending to construct buildings are being threatened by a nexus of local leaders, mediamen and officials for bribes of the order of Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
Though this loot is out in the open, officials claim that they cannot help the citizens as this is happening externally.
Though vigilance teams will enquire into the issues, they are restricted to investigating corruption by officials.
According to K. Srinivas Rao, chairman of the Institute of Town Planners India, Telangana Chapter and director planning, this kind of corruption is seen only in the case of unauthorised constructions, where lower rung officials and local politicians demand bribes.
He said that even though human interface is minimal, 95 per cent of builders will deviate from the original plan submitted to municipalities and corporations and will be willing to pay a bribe to get the plans passed.
Mr Rao said that though the municipalities can curtail such irregularities through vigilance teams it would be impossible to regulate loot from other sections of the society.
He said that remaining 5 per cent with the weak mindset have falling in to the trap of extorters.
Director of enforcement, vigilance and disaster management, Vishwajit Kampati said that though the corporation has been receiving complaints from citizens about bribes, it is hard to believe that the complainant himself has not been deviating from the original plan.
He also admitted that most of the structures in the city have deviated from their original plans and it would not be possible to take action on every individual.
He also said that the extortion gangs have been deliberately complaining to the corporation to halt the construction and threaten the builder for money.
Mr Kampati said that there has to be self regulation by citizens during the building construction to avoid such loot.
A corporator who does not wanted to be named said that local leaders are forced to indulge in such corrupt activities since they cannot thrive on Rs 6,000 salary! “ How can we maintain vehicles, people depending on us and meet our monthly expenses? For the outside world it has been projected that corporators have been drawing salaries in lakhs but the harsh truth is that we only get Rs 6,000 a month. It has become a curse being elected,” the officer said.