In the saddle but learning it all over

HYDERABAD, JAN. 31. If the For, the newly-elected corporators of Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad will be turning themselves into students to gain first-hand knowledge of various facets of administration of MCH.

The corporation is conducting an orientation programme (maybe for two or three days) for the corporators after their swearing-in ceremony on February 11. The classes would throw light on powers of the municipal council and the standing committee, legal issues, taxation laws, transparent administration, good governance and role of other public utility organisations like the A.P. Transco and the HMWSSB.

According to officials, the public representatives would be acquainted with the powers they have and more importantly powers they don't have. "Most of the corporators are under the impression that they have unlimited powers individually. But this is not the case," pointed out a senior corporation official.

The Administrative Staff College of India would conduct the programme and Srinivasa Chary had been entrusted with the job. It would be followed by regular training programmes.

Officials made it clear that Commissioner and Additional Commissioners of various wings would continue to have powers as against the general impression that only Mayor and the corporators would run the show. As per the MCH Act, two most powerful wings - Revenue and Town Planning -- would work under the Commissioner only.

The Commissioner need not take the opinion of the council on crucial issues like demolitions and removal of encroachments. He would have powers to sanction projects not exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs. The standing committee would come into the picture if the projects cross Rs. 20 lakhs.

Officials said the Commissioner would continue to be `powerful' with most of the executive powers vested in him while the Mayor would have all powers except financial powers. The Commissioner could refer the council's decisions to the Government if he found fault with them. "The Mayor and corporators can fix the tax rates but they cannot interfere with its implementation," an official said.

Interestingly, no Mayor in the country except the Mayor of Kolkata has executive powers. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation had also toyed with the idea for some time but decided against it.

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