GHMCs budget has allocated 45% to the 2BHK housing scheme and just 4 % for drainage and 16% for roads. The move is expected to impact public works and livelihoods of contract laborers.

More funds for 2BHK scheme than roads and drainage works in GHMCs draft budget
news Civic issues Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 18:44

Next year when you contact the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to fix your road or to plug that overflowing sewerage line, the civic body will most likely not have funds for the job. That is because the draft budget for 2019-20 has allocated a meager 4 % for drainage works and 16 % for roads.

The draft budget that has now been approved by the standing committee has run afoul with GHMC contractors and civic groups alike. A major chuck of the GHMC’s budget, 45 % has been allocated to the 2BHK housing scheme, a flagship programme of the TRS government. The 2 BHK scheme aims to provide pucca houses to all eligible BPL (Below Poverty Line) families that comprise mainly of SC/ST population. The state government has spent Rs 22,000 crore as of March 2018 on the project that was a poll promise of the Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

The move is expected to impact not just road and drainage works in the city but also the livelihoods of those who depend on the labour work that the contracts bring in.

“The 2BHK scheme has picked up the pace in execution since last year. Although the GHMC did not allocate funds in the budget that year, it eventually did spend around Rs 200 to Rs 300 crore on the scheme. We are not against the scheme, it's a good scheme but the budget is skewered. What people want is roads, good drainage, parks, footpaths,” said M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary, Forum for Good Governance (FGG). “This year the GHMC has formally allocated 45 % in the budget for the 2 BHK scheme, roughly Rs 1,200 core,” he added.

Now that the budget has been approved by the standing committee, it will be presented before the GHMC’s general body council before being presented to the state government for final approval. However, FGG pointed out that in the last three years there has been no correlation between the approved budget and spending of funds.

When asked if the public can intervene to make GHMC consider revising its budget, Reddy said, “One can express one's views to the GHMC, but I am not sure if they will listen. The corporators have to take this up with GHMC, they will not be able to do anything for the public if there are no funds, there will be a public backlash.”

GHMC contractors are also now worried about road and drainage related work drying up. “All developmental activities related to roads and drainage in Hyderabad will come to a halt if the budget gets decreased. There are about 700 contractors working with GHMC and each of them hires about 20 people minimum for a contract labour job. If the work stops due to no funds, these are the people who will suffer most,” said Rao S Bhaskar, president, GHMC contractors’ association. “Developmental works of GHMC have been affected in recent times as they have had to bail out Road Transport Corporation (RTC), even the staff are getting their salaries late. As contractors there is nothing that we can do to make GHMC revise their budget, we are helpless,” he added.

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