Hyderabad: Civic body's pest wing reeks of graft

Hyderabad: The entomology wing of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has been allegedly swindling over Rs 2 crore in the name of fogging and anti-larval operations. The double check mechanisms like social audit which entails getting signatures from every household has also proved useless, as the staff were submitting fake signatures to the higher authorities to claim bills.

Out of the `30 crore budget allocated for the wing, about Rs 20 crore is spent towards the salaries of about 2,200 entomology staff. However, with the nexus between the contractors and higher authorities, they have not only been claiming the salaries and EPF amounts of outsourced employees but also producing fake records pertaining to fogging and anti-larval operations.

These issues were even raised by corporators in the recent council meetings and in high level meetings with the Munici-pal Administration and the Urban Development department. Vexed with the attitude of entomology wing officials, the MA&UD department directed the corporation to put an end to corruption and eradicate mosquito menace from the city.

Despite spending over Rs 2 crore every year, the corporation has not been able to  yield  desired results due to irregularities in the entomology wing. Besides, the civic body spent Rs 22,43,750 on Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (BTI), Rs 11,77,243 on Mosquito Larvicidal Oil (MLO), Rs 13,50,000 on Malathion technical material (MLT) and Rs 10,75,500 on  diesel.

Even though the corporation has 140 portable and 10 vehicle-mounted fogging machines, the ground level staff is not taking up the operations even once in three months. Surprisingly, the official records with random signatures claimed that the corporation had been conducting fogging operations thrice in a month. Even though the scam was evident on the ground with complaints pouring in from the citizens pertaining to mosquito menace, the higher authorities in the corporation remained mute due to the flawless paperwork.

According to highly placed sources, the corporation after successfully taking up anti-larval operations in Gurdnadam Cheruvu and Malkam Cheruvu on a pilot basis, has been contemplating to hire drones to take up the fogging operations in the city.

A GHMC official on condition of anonymity told this newspaper, that in order to curb corruption and save citizens from the mosquito menace, the corporation had decided to reduce the human interface by deploying drones to conduct fogging operations based on the intensity. He said it would be better to rely on machines than men due to their accountability, effectiveness and transparency. “The corporation would ask private firms to make the first of its kind drone to take up fogging operations with autofill and auto charge mechanism. This project would be on a pilot basis in a circle which have all kinds of hindrances for drones to pass through -  trees, high rise buildings, slums and other structures - to assess the pros and cons of hiring them use them in all 30 circles,” the official said.

The corporation official further said that the civic body official would use trash collectors to clear the weed from the city which were mostly larger than 10 acres in size.

“This would reduce the human interface to a great extent and the workers would be deployed in a separate wing called swachh sena, which would penalise citizens, eateries and others for dumping trash in city roads and bylanes. Like the enforcement cell, the new wing will also have a dress code,” he added.

Civic body to use drones on Musi to control mosquitoesThe Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has (GHMC) decided to use automated drones along the Musi river which would automatically detect the tree and structure interference and adjust its size accordingly. Unlike manual drones which were operated recently over city lakes this would have 15 litre capacity tank.

A GHMC official said that the corporation would conduct a comprehensive survey to identify trees and structures along the Musi river to geo-tag them. He said that the geo-tagged and geo-fenced information would be updated with the software of the automated drone to take up anti-larval operations. He said that the specifications pertaining to automated drones has been given to a private agency and would be soon deployed to perform anti-larval operations in the Musi.

Tags : GHMC drones

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