GHMC officials take ‘U-turn’ on Rs 10,000 flood relief

The GHMC has appealed to the people not to come to Mee Seva centres to apply for relief

Hyderabad: Some bad news, citizens of Greater Hyderabad. People who were expecting that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will resume its program of giving Rs 10,000 flood relief to families which have suffered losses during the floods may not get their anticipated compensation.

After announcing yesterday that their officials will visit flood affected areas to conduct verification of damaged homes and families who have suffered loses, post which Rs 10,000 would be deposited directly into bank accounts, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has taken a smooth U-turn, and has now declared that the civic body was “not concerned with the providing of financial aid”.

Corporation officials said they have not received instructions or guidelines from the government pertaining to field verification. The GHMC has appealed to the people not to come to Mee Seva centres to apply for relief.

The Telangana government was set to resume distribution of Rs 10,000 per family as relief to those affected by October floods in Greater Hyderabad. The relief distribution was stopped by the State Election Commission (SEC) once the model code of conduct came into effect consequent to scheduling of the GHMC elections. The polls were held on December 1 and its results were announced on December 4.

At that time, it was announced that flood affected families can apply for relief at Mee Seva centres after December 7. Beneficiaries thronged in large numbers to file their application on Monday morning.

GHMC commissioner D.S. Lokesh Kumar had promised to people, saying officials will visit houses and conduct verification of affected families, after which money will be deposited directly into their bank accounts. Disappointed victims left Mee Seva centres hoping official would conduct field inspections to provide financial aid.

Shockingly, on Tuesday the GHMC officials did a smooth U-turn, saying they have been completely disconnected from field verification and cash distribution prior to 15 days of poll notification. “We were completely engaged in GHMC poll work,” they said.

Officials said that since then all direct benefit transfers (DBT) were done directly from the State treasury, “GHMC has no role to play” in it.

When asked why GHMC commissioner had issued an official statement promising that officials will visit homes to conduct verification of affected families, after which money would be deposited directly into bank accounts, officials said that the “official statement was released without their notice”.

They further said that they would conduct field verifications only after either state government’s instructions or through official guidelines. “As of now, nothing has been communicated from higher authorities,” they said.

Officials said the government was now “working on a mechanism to filter fake beneficiaries”. Once done, field verification would be resumed.

As per official data, GHMC distributed Rs 10,000 cash to about 4.13 lakh families while the government deposited money into bank accounts of 1.26 lakh families. Official records say that overall 260 colonies were affected due to floods.

Heavy rains and floods in October, in particular on October 14, had battered the city and the outskirts, killing 50 people and inundating hundreds of colonies.

Responding to criticism and allegations of fraud in cash distributions, Municipal Administration and Urban Development minister K.T. Rama Rao said on November 15 that those who have not received aid can apply through Mee Seva centres.

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