City roads to be on annual maintenance contract

Engineering officials reportedly told not to expect State funding

A committee has been constituted with senior engineers to study the feasibility and frame modalities for handing over the task of city’s road maintenance to private agencies.

It has been decided in principle to call for annual maintenance contract (AMC), whereby the agency bidding for the job will have to take care of part of the city roads for the next one year.

It is learnt from reliable sources that during his recent review meeting with GHMC’s Engineering wing, Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) K. T. Rama Rao expressed chagrin at the status of city roads, and said it was not within the GHMC’s capacity to maintain roads.

He also left a hint about the AMC while addressing a press conference ahead of the review. During the review, he was learnt to have categorically told the engineering officials not to expect state funding, and asked them to generate revenue from internal sources.

GHMC as of now spends about ₹600 crore on road maintenance annually. This is solely spent on potholes and patchwork on 9000 km (27,000 lane km) of roads maintained by GHMC.

Re-carpeting works are undertaken under the separate head of periodic preventive maintenance (PPM), for which GHMC is not in a position to spare funds.

A year and a half ago, the State government had given administrative sanction for PPM works on about 300 ke of road stretch. With government not releasing funds as promised, GHMC had to spend from its general fund to pay the contractors for the work done.

Busy stretches

During the review meeting, it was decided to try out AMC on major thoroughfares to the extent of 2000 lane km. The job of identifying busy stretches in each circle for this purpose has been handed over to the respective Deputy Commissioners.

A committee comprising the three chief engineers in GHMC, and the engineer in chief of Public Health will pore over the list, and design framework for implementation.

While it is yet to be seen how things will shape up in future, what intrigues the GHMC officials is the fact that the Minister has not distinguished between roads under GHMC and those under HRDCL.

Major road stretches in the city, extending up to 300 kilometres have already been handed over to HRDCL, which was set up as special purpose vehicle.

Majority of them being six lane roads, these stretches are enough to constitute the whole of the intended 2000 kilometres to be handed out on AMC. The decision might call the purpose and existence of HRDCL into question, officials feel.

Incidentally, HRDCL too has not received the promised total funding from government for payment to contractors for road maintenance during the previous year.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 6:51:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/city-roads-to-be-on-annual-maintenance-contract/article29395254.ece

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