HYDERABAD: The Standing Committee of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has decided to buy brand new Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (512 GB) for each of its 17 outgoing members, comprising the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and 15 others, who will be demitting office in February. The cost of the said iPhone variant is roughly Rs 1.6 lakh, taking the total expense to Rs 27.23 lakh.

The committee approved this proposal at a meeting chaired by Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan at the GHMC head office. The Standing Committee is the highest authority in the GHMC which approves all projects, development works and important policy decisions. Many corporators felt happy about the decision but people are fuming over this development. They are questioning how come the GHMC buys the latest iPhones for its members when it’s facing a financial crunch.

For the last few months, the committee members had been demanding for iPhones for all corporators. But after realising that buying smartphones for 155 corporators and five co-option members—would cost over Rs 2.50 crore—was too expensive, the committee members decided to restrict the privilege only to themselves.

BJP Telangana chief spokesperson K. Krishna Saagar Rao demanded that the decision be rolled back immediately. “TRS has not learnt a lesson. The citizens of the city have defeated them because of this kind of attitude, brazen behaviour, irresponsibility, abuse of power, misuse of public money, and now on their way out, they are trying to abuse that limited power they have for another two months,” he said.

BJP says when a new body is formed in February for Hyderabad civic body, it will ensure these kinds of unilateral decisions, abuse and misuse of power does not occur. The TRS, which had swept the polls in 2016, managed to win only 56 seats this time around, just short of the required numbers to get the Mayor and Deputy Mayor post on its own. The BJP gained major ground in Hyderabad, going from 4 to 48 seats, while the AIMIM won 44, Congress got only 2 seats.