The Telangana government is set to resume the distribution of Rs 10,000 per family as relief to those affected by the October floods in Hyderabad. As of Monday, officials with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have begun conducting field visits to gather details of those who have not received the money.
The relief distribution was stopped by the State Election Commission (SEC) in view of the model code of conduct for the GHMC elections that were held on December 1, the results for which were announced on December 4.
The GHMC has appealed to the people not to come to Mee Seva centres to apply for relief. However, this appeal was not communicated to the public who queued up at Mee Seva centres on Monday morning to file their application.
Commissioner Lokesh Kumar said GHMC officials will visit the houses and conduct verification of the affected families, after which the money will be deposited directly into their bank accounts. Several Hyderabadis wondered over social media why the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government had not taken this step before the municipal elections.
The distribution of relief was stopped on November 18 on the direction of the SEC. The government had promised to resume the same after the GHMC elections. Even during the first phase of fund release, several allegations were made by locals and opposition leaders that local corporators were partial in choosing those who will receive the relief funds. The state government briefly stopped the cash distribution but had to resume owing to public anger in the form of protests, namely in the flood-affected areas of the city. The cash distribution was restarted again but through Mee Seva centres. Now the government has said GHMC officials will visit the flood victims at their homes. Officials say the new move is to prevent long queues and stampede-like situations witnessed earlier.
According to officials, Rs 664 crore was distributed among 6.64 lakh families since October 20.
Heavy rains and floods on October 14-15 had battered the city and outskirts, killing about 50 people and inundating hundreds of colonies. The government had announced that every affected family will be provided Rs 10,000. However, many people in the affected areas complained that they had not received the aid.
After Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao announced on November 15 that those who have not received the aid can apply through Mee Seva centres, thousands had turned up to submit applications.
The opposition parties cried foul saying that the TRS was influencing voters in the GHMC polls by distributing cash.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had assured the people before the polls that all those affected would get the relief. He had said that the government had spent over Rs 600 crore and there will be no problem in spending another Rs 200 crore to 300 crore to cover all those affected.
TRS emerged as the single largest party with 55 seats in 150-member GHMC but its strength came down drastically from the 99 seats it had won in 2016. BJP increased its numbers from four to 48 while MIM retained 44 divisions.