If you happen to wake up quite early in the morning or if you happen to return from someplace during the early hours of the morning, i.e., before sunrise, then you are bound to see sweeping vacuum machines doing their work on the roads. The whole idea is to reduce dust and improve the quality of air. However, not everything is hunky-dory when it comes to their performance and the cost of maintenance.
Incidentally, the sweeping machines are run by private agencies chosen by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). While the heavy-duty sweeping machines are run with GPS on, they cost GHMC quite a bit. Right now, GHMC has decided to hire 18 more compact, heavy-duty vacuum sweepers for sweeping in five zones. The cost of hiring them is estimated to be Rs 32 crore.
In 2015, GHMC entered into an agreement with Marlin Infra Lion Service to main and operated the sweeping machines. While the machines are expected to work for 10 hours from 9 pm to 7 am on a daily basis, what happens, in reality, is that they barely work for three hours. Also, they usually clean one road along the meridian or so and totally ignore other lanes.
However, GHMC regularly pays bills to these operators, and higher officials from GHMC claim that 60 percent of the bills are fake. In fact, several crores are being swindled by private agencies involved and ground-level staff of GHMC.
While no one from the private agencies is willing to talk, GHMC pays Rs 2457 per hour to sweep the city roads, spending Rs 7.37 lakh per machine every month. On the whole, the civic body spends Rs 1.84 crore on 26 sweeping machines.
Now, GHMC has decided to hire 18 more sweeping machines at the cost of Rs 114,46,400, and these will operate in five zones that include LB Nagar, Secunderabad, Kukatpally, Serilingampally, and Khairatabad. The selected agency will take up night cleaning for 10 hours per day on all 365 days of the year. The total package will cost GHMC Rs 32 crore per annum.