Hyderabad: When an activist asked the GHMC for a copy of the report of an inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds pertaining to nala desilting works, a senior official of the civic body asked him to cough up Rs 41,300 for getting the 20,650-page report.
According to sources, the GHMC had sanctioned Rs 56.31 crore for 371 desilting works in April. Of them, 211 works costing Rs 31.96 were under progress. On the other hand, 157 works costing Rs 23.98 crore were yet to begin.
Barring the Charminar zone, more than half of the works are yet to begin in the other five zones. In Serilingampally zone, of 36 desilting works, only nine are in progress; in Secunderabad zone, of 51 works, only 16 works are under progress. The contractors have withheld work over non-payment of previous bills pending since last October.
To counter this, the corporation authorities conducted a vigilance inquiry and found that contractors had failed to execute even 50 per cent of the works. The report suggested that the corporation 50 per cent of about Rs 800 crore pending bills pertaining to desilting and other nala related works.
Given this backdrop, the activist, M. Padmanabha Reddy, asked the corporation for the inquiry report for which the deputy chief engineer quoted Rs 41,300.
"GHMC spends close to Rs 40 crore annually for desilting of nalas. If the work is executed appropriately, flooding of city roads and low-lying areas can be reduced considerably. There is a general feeling that every year 50 per cent of the money is distributed among the well-connected GHMC officials," the activist said.
"I feel that the deputy chief engineer (M), in his bid to hide the irregularities that have been exposed by internal vigilance, has asked us to pay this exorbitant amount. I urge the commissioner to call for the file and examine why action has not been taken on the irregularities that have been pointed out," Padmanabha Reddy alleged.
Asked about the same, a senior GHMC official, requesting anonymity, said that the inquiry report also included details of nala desilting at several smaller stretches, which was why it ran to over 20,000 pages. On whether or not the report would be put in the public domain, the official said that inquiry reports will remain within the office. The official refused to comment when asked about the action taken report....