Despite scam, HMDA prefers manual labour over machine

Published Nov 29, 2018, 1:17 am IST
Updated Nov 29, 2018, 1:17 am IST
Manual agencies cost Rs 80 lakh per month whereas machine work costs Rs 30 lakh.
Hyacinth spread all over the Saroornagar lake after authorities stopped its removal abruptly.
 Hyacinth spread all over the Saroornagar lake after authorities stopped its removal abruptly.

Hyderabad: Not learning from the lessons of the past, the HMDA has once again decided to use manual labour to clean the Hussainsagar and improve water quality in the lake.

From 2012 to 2016, the HMDA had divided the lake into two sectors and manually cleaned it.  The shoreline was divided into sectors to clean, while removal of floating material in the middle of the lake was taken up with pedal and motor boats. 


The tenders for the clean-up project required two agencies to deploy 100 workers to manually clean the lake for a period of four years. The agencies, however, put a mere 20 workers on the job every day but claimed bills for 100. This came to light when the then HMDA commissioner T. Chiranjeevulu made field inspections.

He immediately called off tenders and handed over the cleaning project to NACOF, a Bengaluru-based company. This yielded better results, with dissolved oxygen levels improving and bio-oxygen demand falling.

NACOF had employed EM.1 (Effective Microorganism) solution and Bokashi balls — mud balls containing fermented organic matter — to treat water. Three months later, there was a considerable decrease in the growth of algal blooms and foul smell was arrested.

Surprisingly, the HMDA has now decided to revert to manual cleaning.

The HMDA has been paying Rs 32 lakh per month to clean the lake, while it used to pay the each of the manual cleaning agencies `80 lakh.

This apart, to remove silt, weeds and trash, the HMDA introduced two pontoon-mounted excavators made with marine grade steel. The excavators work  eight hours a day on all days of the week. They have been deployed at the cost of  Rs 2 crore. 

Sources said even when everything was going well, some HMDA officials are planning to return to manual cleaning which earlier was a losing proposition for the agency. A senior HMDA official said the water quality of Hussainsagar has improved due to the diversion of sewage water and use of EM.1 solution and Bokashi balls. Asked about deploying 100 workers to clear the floating material despite having a trash collector, the official said that HMDA manually removes floating material on the shoreline and refused to comment further.

He said that HMDA would prepare estimates and call tenders after elections for the same agencies. 

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad