With close to 265 colonies and 100-odd slums, Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is as good a suburb as any in our big city.
Despite being in the core of the Greater Hyderabad limits and functioning under the Defence Ministry, SCB has to depend on the neighbouring local bodies for providing basic amenities to its civilian population.
Unfortunately, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) seem to have made up their minds to put the SCB in a pincer.
This comes at a great cost to the civilian population as the two bodies persist with their exorbitant demands on the Cantonment Board. If GHMC has stopped allowing SCB trucks from dumping garbage at Jawaharnagar, HMWSSB insists on high connection charges for any increase of water supply.
“It appears that these bodies do not treat the Cantonment residents as citizens of A.P. More than rendering service, their focus seems to be on fleecing us,” fumes E. Venkata Ramaniah, president of Confederation of Cantonment Resident Welfare Associations.
SCB areas generate about 120 tonnes of garbage everyday. It is transported to Balamrai check post and the Trimulghery community hall transit points and later transported to Jawaharnagar.
After many meetings between SCB and GHMC, it was decided that Rs.720 per ton of garbage would be paid as tipping charges. But things took a new twist with the GHMC insisting tipping charges be paid to Ramky Enviro Engineers, implementing the integrated municipal solid waste management project.
“We cannot pay to a private party without any clarity on extent of hiked tipping fee. We have also paid an advance of Rs.24 lakh but the municipal corporation claims it to be previous arrears and has been demanding excess payment,” says SCB Chief Executive Officer S. Balakrishna.
Similar is the case with HMWSSB. The SCB requires about 60 lakh gallons of water per day but HMWSSB supplies only 40 lakh gallons per day. To overcome this problem, pipelines were laid at Mahendra Hills and Bolarum spending about Rs.20 crore, way back in 2009 to ensure supply of additional 15 lakh gallons.
Board authorities inform that HMWSSB is demanding Rs.17 crore as connection charges to supply water. “Paying such a huge amount is a tough ask. Our appeal to permit payment in instalments has not been cleared till date,” says a board member.
It was also agreed to commence supply of five lakh gallons through the Mahendra Hills pipeline on a payment of Rs.4.5 crore but it is yet to fructify, he rues, while residents reel under water shortage.