Maintenance of Hyderabad roads may be privatised soon. Will it help?

The Telangana government, it would seem, has given up. The Standing Committee of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has proposed to hand over 687 km of roads in Hyderabad to private players for maintenance for a period of five years. 

This comes after the abject failure of GHMC and its contractors to keep the roads in good shape and fix potholes on time. All the contractors periodically do is to indulge in cosmetic repairs that gets washed away with even a short spell of rain. If the work is outsourced, the GHMC’s political representatives feel it will ease the pressure off them and help them demand accountability from the private agencies that have bagged the contracts. 

But will it solve the entire problem? No. Because the length of road that is proposed to be privatised is only 687 km of the total 9000 km of road length in the city. This will mean barring the main roads, the streets will still be at the mercy of the GHMC contractors. 

The other question is whether the GHMC will do a good job of certifying if the quality of work done by private agencies is up to the mark. The death of Mounica because of a piece of plaster falling from the Hyderabad Metro Rail station at Ameerpet built by L&T is a case in point. The quality of construction was okayed by the government before the station became operational.

Three, it is not just about the roads. It is also about the storm water drains, the pavements and the manholes in which other agencies like the Hyderabad Water Supply and Sewerage also come into the picture. There is little point in mere carpeting of roads if enough space is not given for water to go down in the event of a downpour.

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