Hyderabad: The Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) has proposed it will hand over the city’s roads to private agencies for repair and maintenance; it has also proposed to hire an international agency as a monitor. This raised hackles in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which claims that private and international agencies will be unfamiliar with the old sewage and drinking water networks under the roads.
The private agencies would get the work on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, and unlike with highways, commuters would not have to pay tolls as the government would foot the bill.
It is an option that officials came up with after exhausting all others. Vexed corporation officials have tried vacuum dewatering cement concrete (VDCC) roads. They have tried a German technology called Full Depth Recycling, in which no fresh bitumen is used but instead the existing road is chemically treated and then laid again.
They have tried Periodical Preventive Maintenance (PPM), in which once every five years the road is milled, re-profiled and re-laid. PPM was stopped midway due to the financial crunch. The state government then sat down with engineers for and enduring solution.
Urban development minister KT Rama Rao on Tuesday asked engineers with the GHMC, the Hyderabad Road Development Corporation Ltd (HRDCL), the State Industrial
Infrastructure Corporation Ltd (TSIIC) and other agencies for a solution. They proposed options including repairing 600 km of roads at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore, or handing over road maintenance to private agencies on an annual basis. The idea of handing over the city's roads to private agencies has raised concerns of engineers cutting across departments who said the agencies would know nothing of local conditions.
These engineers feel that the BOT basis was used mainly in highways and expressways which do not have the problems of electricity cables, sewers or drinking water networks.
They said giving it to private agencies would only aggravate the commuters' nightmares, as seen with the sewage overflow on Banjara Hills road no. 1 where traffic jams exist till 11 pm daily. Furthermore, framing guidelines and fixing responsibilities would be a herculean task for which the government would have to issue at least 10 government orders.