Senior couple is filling potholes, what is GHMC doing, asks HC

‘Why should they not be paid wages… spending their own money?’

Expressing dissatisfaction over the condition of roads in the State capital, Telangana High Court on Wednesday observed that Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) authorities should be ashamed that an elderly couple is spending their savings on filling potholes on Hyderabad roads.

A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy instructed the officials to furnish a report on the status of roads in 30 circles of the six zones in GHMC. The direction was issued after the HC suo moto took up as PIL petition a news report in a newspaper over retired employee Gangadhar Tilak, 73, and his wife Venkateshwari, 64, spending his pension money on filling potholes.

When the hearing began, GHMC standing counsel Krishna Reddy informed the court that officials and staff of the civic body were working round-the-clock to beautify the city roads and construct flyover bridges. Not agreeing with his contentions, the bench cautioned the counsel against making such claims.

The HC would appoint advocate commissioners to study the road condition and ascertain facts. “Then punishment would be awarded to those who passed on misleading information about the good condition of the roads,” the bench said. The bench wondered what the authorities were doing when the couple was going around the city and filling up the potholes.

“Why should they not be paid wages when they are doing the work supposed to be done by the officials and spending their own money,” the bench asked. When it sought specific information about the length of the roads in the city and their conditions, the GHMC counsel said the details were not readily available.

The bench found fault with the GHMC counsel for claiming that heavy rains were damaging the roads. It observed that rains lash several places in the world but the authorities should be prepared well in advance and get the road repair works done. There was no point in blaming the rain god while neglecting maintenance of the roads, the bench opined.

The matter was posted to July 20 for next hearing.

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