Hyderabad: An acute financial crunch doesn’t seem to have deterred corporators from seeking out a piece of luxury — a brand new iPhone 11 Pro Max for 17 of them — each priced at no less than Rs 1.30 lakh (avg). The total cost: Rs 21.35 lakh. Turns out, a proposal to this effect was tabled by the standing committee of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), that met on June 4. It’s term expired on Saturday, June 6.
Incidentally, the same day GHMC offered to waive off Rs 800 crore interest on property tax arrears, touted to be the highest relief ever extended by the civic body, to make up for the severe financial loss it incurred during the two-month-long lockdown period.
While the expensive plan — the list of names include Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan and deputy Mayor Baba Fasiuddin —is yet to be green-lit by the GHMC commissioner, standing committee members see no reason why it shouldn’t go through, “The proposal for iPhones has been drafted since GHMC is switching over to an e-governance model. Even grievances are aired by people online these days. That’s why we have requested for an upgrade in the mobile phones ,” said R Sheshagiri , GHMC standing committee member and TRS corporator from Gajularamaram.
The GHMC standing committee is the apex body of the corporation which takes important policy decisions that includes according sanctions for civic works. The committee consists of 15 corporators.
Even the Hyderabad Mayor seems to find no fault with the move. “ The practice of providing mobile phones to elected members is followed in Assembly as , so this isn’t anything new. Also, this was drafted after requests poured in from corporators,” said Rammohan
While repeated attempts to reach GHMC commission, D S Lokesh Kumar, failed, the exorbitant plan raised many eyebrows. “With employees taking pay cuts and foregoing benefits to help the government during the pandemic it is irresponsible on their part to spend government funds in this manner,” said Ridima V an activist from city.