Hyderabad: A GHMC official disclosed that a preliminary check following the rains had revealed that there were over 2 lakh potholes across the city’s roads. The corporation is setting about repairing them.
In run up to civic body polls in 2016, GHMC had re-carpeted 1,800-km bitumen roads by spending `337 crore. When they deteriorated due to poor maintenance, the government constituted the Hyderabad Road Development Corporation Limited (HRDCL) to set the matters right. HRDCL was to borrow `1,500 crore with government providing counter guarantee. However, prior to the Assembly elections in 2018, the government changed its mind and came up with a special Comprehensive Road Maintenance Plan (CRMP).
In its annual 2020 report, the government claimed that the CRMP was a first of its kind initiative wherein a competent, capable and experienced private player is entrusted with maintenance of particular stretches of roads. The private organisation not only invests capital in creating road infrastructure of a set standard, it also maintains the same throughout the contractual period of five years.
This way, 709 km of major roads had been entrusted to six agencies. CRMP had been aimed at doing away with repeated tendering process and restoration of damaged roads in a piecemeal manner.
Under CRMP, the twin cities should have got 709.49 km of main roads along with footpaths and lane markings. Agencies shortlisted had to build these roads and footpaths, maintain them for five years, apart from ensuring greenery along the roads. The government accorded administrative sanction of `1,839 crore for the purpose.
Two years have passed since these grandiose plans but the condition of city roads remains the same. A senior GHMC official, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the defect liability clause has never been used. Every time there is road maintenance programme, the private agency has been milling the fresh roads and laying only the first layer in the monsoon.
While this is so, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) and electricity departments have been digging roads without the permission of GHMC. "Out of 709.49 km, only about 50 per cent of CRMP works have been completed. A preliminary report says there are 2.3 lakh potholes on city roads, including on CRMP stretches. The condition of city roads will remain the same until there is strong political to change the situation," the official maintained.
Substandard work of private agencies in laying roads is being attributed as the cause. This after spending `2,000 crore on city roads over five years.