HYDERABAD: The huge allocation of about Rs 550 crore, about 20 per cent of the next budget, for construction of housing units for the poor is not going down well with many corporators in the city.
They say that the civic body’s main function is to provide basic amenities such sanitation, maintenance of roads, street lights, improvement of nalas and others but not construction of houses which should be the duty of the Hyderabad and Rangareddy district administrations.
It is nothing but diversion of GHMC funds to state government projects, they say. Speaking to Express, TDP floor leader Singireddy Srinivas Reddy said that it was clearly specified in the GHMC Act that the primary duty of the corporation was to provided basic amentias such as sanitation, maintenance of roads, street lights and improvement of nalas, and nowhere in the Act was it said that provision of housing to the poor was also its duty.
In the 12th Schedule of the 74th Amendment, poverty alleviation programmes, not housing, is listed among the primary duties of the corporation. Diversion of Rs 550 crore to state government projects should be stopped and that same money should be spent on taking up developmental activities.
“The government, in the disguise of developmental activities, is diverting GHMC funds for its pet projects which is very unfortunate,’’ he said. “Housing for the poor is a central government project and the state government has to contribute 30 percent of the cost but the government is shifting the burden to the corporation.
When its financial position is precarious, how can the GHMC afford an expenditure to the tune of Rs 550 crore on a project which is the state government’s responsibility?’’ he wondered.
“Housing projects in the city should be financed by the revenue department as is being done in all other districts.
The collectors of Hyderabad and Rangareddy districts allot houses to beneficiaries selected by the government without consulting the mayor, deputy mayor or corporators.
Why should then the corporation part with a major portion of its scarce and precious funds for housing and allocate it in its annual budget?’’ During the implementation of the Overseas Development Authority (ODA) scheme in erstwhile MCH, the corporation used to receive funds from the ODA, especially for slums improvement, till 1994.
Even the loans were raised from HUDCO in the name of beneficiaries and the total project was being regulated by the MCH without taking financial burden, he said.
The `550 crore could be utilised for taking up sanitation, street-lighting, maintenance or roads, procuring vehicles for debris clearance, taking measures to prevent occurrence of contagious diseases such as dengue, chikun guniya, malaria and viral fevers, the TDP leader said.