Civic body to spend Rs. 49 crore to protect lands

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has identified 385 open spaces which will be enclosed with compound walls at a cost of around Rs.49 crore to save them from possible encroachments.

Speaking to presspersons on Monday, GHMC Commissioner Somesh Kumar said three senior officials were entrusted with the task of identifying the open plots belonging to the civic body and the team had come up with the list with related sketches and locations.

“We will be protecting them by constructing compound walls which are estimated to run for 70,000 metres on the whole,” he said. By June, all these spaces would be developed into parks and plantation taken up during the coming monsoon to ensure that they do not fall prey to encroachers. The new lung spaces would join the list of another 1,000 new parks proposed to be taken up in the coming months.

Property tax

On property tax collection, the Commissioner said this year, so far Rs.538 crore had been collected as against Rs.467 crore during the same period last year. “Our first target is Rs.1, 000 crore and second target is Rs.1, 250 crore and we hope the collection to pick up after all these holidays in January,” he said.

On realising arrears and long pending dues, he said the staff was directed to act upon but without causing harassment of any kind.

Road repairs

Road repair works will commence soon as the civic body has approved Rs. 50 lakh for each ward.

A meeting was scheduled towards the month-end with the Roads & Buildings (R&B) Department on handing over its road stretches to the GHMC. Mr. Somesh Kumar also conceded the need for preparing staff and officers better in handling grievances and said a training module on the issue would be worked out soon.

Night shelters in buses

In what is an innovative idea, the GHMC has tied up with the APSRTC to set up mobile night shelters in old and not in use buses. The RTC agreed to spare two old buses which would be stripped off the seats and space created for the homeless to sleep during the nights.

Mr. Kumar said these buses would move to where the homeless were on the pavements and roads in the night and provide them a facility to sleep. Another idea being worked out was to have mobile toilets accompanying these buses for the homeless.

Budget stalemate

The GHMC budget stalemate the year 2014-15 continued with the standing committee yet to give its nod to the budget proposals over the issue of Mayoral seat.

The Congress members had boycotted the meeting scheduled to approve the budget earlier seeking the Mayor’s seat from the MIM. According to the agreement reached between the two parties, the Congress would have got the Mayor post for this last year of the term.

Asked about the delays in budget approval for the financial year 2014-2015, Mr. Kumar said given the stalemate, the government was approached for guidance. “We also appeal to the leaders to solve the situation and since there is some more time available, we hope it will get resolved in time,” he said.

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