Members find fault with officials for engaging consultants even for small works in city

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Council on Monday took strong objection to what it termed indiscriminate usage of consultancy services for various works in the city and sought details on the amount spent on consultants so far.

Members cutting across party lines found fault with engaging consultants even for small works, including soil test and supervision. Launching a tirade against the practice, former Mayor Mir Zulfiqar Ali sought to know on what basis consultants were being given projects. “Do we have the provision of engaging consultants in the GHMC Act? Have the officials taken permission from the general body?” he questioned.

Mr. Ali also wondered whether the engineering staff of the civic body were not equipped to handle works. TDP floor leader Singireddy Srinivas Reddy wanted to know how many of the reports submitted by the consultants were actually acted upon. “If we are not acting on their suggestions then why engage them in the first place and waste money,” he said.

GHMC Commissioner Somesh Kumar said works involving an expenditure of Rs.8.18 crore were given to consultants in the last six years and admitted that the civic body’s engineering staff, while efficient in managing regular works and supervision, were not oriented to handle specialised works. “They cannot do specialised project works such as Road Over Bridges,” he said.

At the same time, the Commissioner stressed the need for GHMC to strengthen and train its personnel and have a strong technical wing. He promised to study the various consultancy works given and present a report in 15 days. Mayor Mohammed Majid Hussain directed the additional commissioners, zonal commissioners and engineering-in-chief to submit the report before the next standing committee.

Earlier, women corporators raised the issue of different livelihood programmes under the Urban Community Development (UCD) and lamented that the neither required staff was available nor the programmes were taken up effectively. Sumalatha of TDP took a critical view at the quality of training, including computer training provided for women and wanted it to be improved.

The discussion, however, ended up in heated arguments between former Mayor Banda Karthika Reddy and the TDP members following which the proceedings were adjourned briefly. The Mayor directed that a committee of women corporators be formed to study the UCD livelihood activities taken up by the GHMC.

Rs. 50 lakh for each ward

The council unanimously resolved to allot Rs. 50 lakh for each ward for restoration of bad roads in the city on a war footing. Mr. Somesh Kumar was directed to review the conditions of the roads, division wise and place the progress of restoration works before the standing committee.

VHR criticises Somesh

Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao, who attended the initial proceedings of the GHMC council meeting on Monday, criticised Commissioner Somesh Kumar and officials for their walk out from the meeting on Saturday.

“They are responsible officers and walking out of the council meeting is not a right thing. If the officials themselves are walking out then who will do the works,” he said.

Mr. Rao also remarked that various development works in the city were dragging on for months and that some officials were sitting on the files without allowing the works to be initiated.

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