Hyderabad: Over one lakh of the three lakh Ganesh idols purchased by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), at the expense of the taxpayers money, have been damaged in transit from Rajendranagar.
The corporation has shortlisted six agencies to procure three lakh Ganesh idols and paid Rs 36 for each 8-inch idol, Rs 130 for each 1-foot idol, and Rs 322 for each 1.5-foot idol.
Around 2.6 lakh 8-inch idols, 30,000 one-foot idols, and 10,000 1.5-foot idols were procured by the GHCM. To compensate for the one lakh damaged idols, city mayor Gadwal R Vijaylakshmi stated that the civic body has procured four lakh idols and will distribute them instead of the previous announcement of distributing three lakh idols within the GHMC limits. However, when confirmed with the authorities, it was discovered that the civic body only purchased three lakh idols and did not call for tenders for one lakh as announced by the city mayor.
According to an official announcement, the corporation will begin distributing these idols on Saturday in all six zonal and 30 circle offices. Mayor Gadwal R. Vijaylakshmi even announced that the zonal commissioners had been given instructions to obtain another one lakh idols due to the corporation’s overwhelming response from citizens.
The corporation officials also stated that over a lakh idols were damaged during transportation and that private agencies would replace them in accordance with the agreement. Contrary to their own statement, corporation officials stated that procuring one lakh idols in a single day would be difficult. When asked about the misappropriation of taxpayer funds, officials stated that the corporation would either recover the funds or transfer them to the next Ganesh celebrations.
When asked if the same players would be invited for tenders next year, officials refused to comment. Meanwhile, when the city mayor’s statement of distributing 4 lakh idols to citizens was cross-checked, a senior GHMC official who requested anonymity stated that the corporation had only invited tenders for 3 lakh idols and that procuring one lakh idols was merely a political statement.