There could be at least two fictitious members in each of the 2,600 seven-member self-help groups (SHGs), which are assigned the task of sweeping the city’s roads, suspect senior officials of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
“We think the erstwhile contractors had managed to infiltrate SHGs by inserting names of their wives and others during the groups’ formation itself. They never attend to work, yet salaries are promptly credited into individual bank accounts, leading to funds embezzlement,” they explain.
It has been exactly a year since the GHMC bid goodbye to the scam-ridden contractor system where 18-member units functioned instead of the current seven-member SHGs.
Nearly 18,000 contract labourers are involved in the sweeping of roads, with each drawing a salary of Rs.6, 700.
These SHGs have been employed in 18 circles of the city.
Despite the fact that there is a supervisor (contract employee or from the regular staff), for every five SHGs, the civic body has been unable to unearth the fake members fund misuse. Some GHMC officials point out that handing over the supervisory role to the outsourced staff and the lack of regular field supervision has led to leaks in the SHG network.
Shocked by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) raid on the Qutbullapur municipal circle office where unaccounted money of Rs.1.99 lakh was found in the possession of some municipal staff, GHMC officials firmly believe in the connivance of local public representatives and staff in the affair.
“That there are leaks in the system despite crediting salaries into individual accounts without the group leader having any say is unfortunate,” remark senior officials.
They, however, claim that the current system is way better than the discarded system. Complaints from workers about non-payment of salaries have reduced considerably.
Moreover, the civic body now saves on contractors’ margin and service tax.