The 150-odd corporators of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will walk out with broad smiles as their term comes to a close in December despite the city’s civic infrastructure and upkeep being a matter of debate.

This is because of the annual ‘budget presents’ gifted practically each year, over the last five years of their tenure. After laptops, printers and the likes, our corporators’ latest acquisition will be the Apple iPad-4s, for which the proposal was passed last week in the standing committee, presided over by Mayor Mohd. Majid Hussain.

GHMC officials said sanctioning of the new gadgets is not a problem as it is an ‘internal matter’ and not concerned with ‘public works’. The new iPads will be purchased at a cost of little more than Rs.72 lakh and these will be given to the 150 corporators, plus the five co-opted members.

According to a party floor leader, wishing to remain anonymous, there were no ‘gifts’ last year; the corporators had received laptops in 2012, which were bought at a price of Rs. 88 lakh. Another elected ward member disclosed that in 2011, they had received printers and scanners. The proposal, however, drew flak from citizens, who questioned the need for such lavish gadgets.

“It is nothing but the abuse of power and wastage of public resources. That money could have been diverted to improve civic infrastructure. It could have been used to at least build public toilets, which the city badly needs,” felt Syed Ali Shah Hussaini, an activist.

Mr. Hussaini added that a campaign would soon be launched with other civil society members, wherein citizens will be asked to call the Mayor and GHMC Commissioner, questioning them on the need to spend public money on gifts.

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