Civic body meet goes down the nala
■ Corporators blame GHMC for delaying nala widening; babus say political will needed
The issue of much-delayed widening of nalas turned a routine GHMC meeting on Saturday into a stormy affair, with corporators grilling officials who hit back saying political will was needed to carry out the work.
The corporation has removed encroachments on just 58 km of the total nala length of 390 km, in 14 years.
Riyasathnagar corporator Mirza Mustafa Saleem Baig raised the issue and charged the officials with deliberately delaying the work though tenders had been finalised.
He was backed by corporators from the other parties, who said the delay was causing inundation of their constituencies during the monsoon. Officials were only participating in rescue operations rather solving the problem, a corporator said. They said town planning officials who served notices on nala encroachers never returned to demolish the structures.
Replying to the charges, GHMC Chief Engineer R. Sridhar said the corporation’s original plan would have affected 28,000 structures. After revising the buffer zone, the corporation reduced the number of encroachments to be affected to 12,153.
As an emergency measure, he said, the GHMC had decided to remove encroachments on 46 critical bottlenecks on 15.9km of nalas at an estimated cost of `230 crore.
Mr Sridhar said the corporation has given work orders to clear 40 bottlenecks and had to float tenders for the rest. Of the
40, 13 contractors had closed the tenders because officials had not removed encroachments. Work was in progress at
18 spots, and had to commence in nine.
Mr Sridhar said the town planning wing had removed 184 encroachments in 18 months. He said that contractors had walked out of the project stating that it was not viable for them.
Regarding delay in nala desilting work, GHMC commissioner M. Dana Kishore said it was caused by contractors refusing to take up the works.
He said that 60 per cent of the silt removed from the nalas contained garbage which would not benefit the contractor.
He said the contractors had been asking for a rate increase as they had to transfer the silt to the Jawaharnagar dumping yard. He said the GHMC would seek the government help and asked legislators and MLCs to raise the issue in the Legislature. He said the corporation would conduct a special drive on alternate Sundays to collect trash to prevent their being dumped in the nalas.