Hyderabad: The HMDA is squandering an opportunity to make money from the steel that is left behind after immersing Ganesh idols in the Hussainsagar.
It is estimated that mild steel worth an estimated Rs 100 crore, which is used for the pedestals and other support structures of the idols.
Till 2010, the HMDA used to invite tenders to salvage the steel and sell it. Since then, however, it is ‘finders keepers’.
Sources allege that lower rung officials without the notice of higher authorities have been collecting the scrap steel and selling it cheap.
HMDA sources said that an estimated 8,000 Ganesha idols between eight and 10 feet in height will be immersed during nimajjanam in the Hussainsagar on Sunday, and the number has been going up every year.
Last year, the HMDA removed about 150 tonnes of remains of idols from the Hussainsagar during its clean-up operation. The number is expected to go up to 200 tonnes this year. About 70 per cent of the remains of the big idols is steel.
Sources said some HMDA officials in cahoots with agencies deputed to clear the lake of debris activities were making more than Rs 70 crore every year as the steel prices had surged.
The figure will rise to about Rs 100 crore this year on the back of the larger number of idols and higher price for steel.
Asked why the HMDA was not using such a valuable resource, an HMDA official said he was unaware that the remains of idols could be sold by floating tenders.
He said the trash and idol debris is shifted to the garbage station at Lower Tank Bund or to the Jawaharnagar dumpyard.
Asked about the steel recovered from the idols, the official blandly stated that it is stolen.
The HMDA has taken up a special drive costing Rs 26.25 lakh to make arrangements for hassle-free immersion of idols at Hussainsagar.
It will use an amphibious excavator, two dredge utility craft and trash collectors. It operates a trash collector currently, and has procured two more.
The HMDA has so car cleared 150 tonnes of idol remains and puja material from the Hussainsagar and shifted them to the garbage transfer station at Lower Tank Bund.
All the post-immersion cleaning up was completed in seven days, besides picking up trash....