HYDERABAD: Though the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has been operating sweeping machines to keep the city roads clean, in reality, the private agencies which are hired to carry out the works allegedly are claiming the bills without doing the works properly.
The contractors have been just running vehicles with GPS equipment on, without sweeping the city roads, it is alleged. Surprisingly, the civic officials who are supervising the maintenance of sweeping machines keep quiet for reasons best known to them.
While this is the case, the corporation now has decided to hire 18 more compact heavy-duty vacuum sweepers for sweeping in five zones. The civic body took the decision to hire these heavy-duty vacuum sweepers with an objective to remove dust on main roads and to improve air quality at a cost of Rs 32 crore annually.
The GHMC on August 21, 2015, entered into an agreement with Marlin infra Lion Services to maintain and operate the sweeping machines. As per the agreement, the sweeping machines should work for 10 hours from 9 pm to 7 am on a daily basis. However, highly-placed sources in the GHMC said the machines were cleaning only one lane adjacent to the road divider but not all lanes. Most of the sweeping machines which were supposed to work for 10 hours were working only for three hours and not doing the social audit, said the sources.
“More than 60 per cent of the bills are fakes. Due to the negligence of the GHMC, private agencies and ground-level staff have been swindling several crores of rupees," said the sources. When this newspaper enquired with the sweeping machines drivers, they said the GHMC officials and the contractor instructed them only to sweep only four kilometres in 10 hours time.
For instance, the machines which were sweeping the road from Gandhi Hospital towards RTC X Roads, Banjara Hills Road No 2 and Uppal-Hubsiguda on Tuesday night were cleaning only one line on both sides. This continued until 3: 30 am on Wednesday. When questioned, the workers were in no mood to answer. Each sweeping machine is supposed to clean 60 km per day. The civic body has been paying Rs 2,457 per hour to sweep the city roads, spending Rs 7.37 lakh per machine every month. Overall, the civic body spends Rs 1.84 crore on 26 sweeping machines.
A senior GHMC official said the deputy commissioners and assistant medical officer of health (AMOH) should conduct field inspections on a regular basis to check the quality of brooms. The top official said stringent action would be taken against the officials and private contractors for not keeping vehicles maintained. He said the civic body was spending Rs 30.78 crore annually to clean 2,000 km of arterial roads in the city. It was also found out from the officials that 18 sweeping machines have been underperforming.
Now, the corporation has decided to hire 18 more sweeping machines. The official said the GHMC would initially hire sweepers of suction type technology with single-engine (self-propelled machines) for a period of one year, which would be extendable to another two years based on maintenance and working condition of machines in five zones. They include Khairatabad (5), LB Nagar (4), Secunderabad (4), Serilingampally (3) and Kukatpally (2). They have been divided into 18 packages. Each package contract is Rs 1,14,46,400. The selected agency will take up night sweeping for 10 hours per day (9 pm to 7 am) on all 365 days of the year. The total package will cost GHMC over Rs 32 crore per annum.