Saturday, July 9, 2016

With eye on 2017 elections, NDMC announces development works, funds

Funds to Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) to carry out minor repairs and instructions for cleaning of drains in unauthorised colonies may not seem like major announcements.
But, for the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), which has been struggling to pay salaries on time, these announcements on Tuesday were seen as efforts to please residents ahead of the 2017 elections.
The civic body has been reeling under a financial crisis for over a year now, with development works on standstill. On Tuesday, however, top leaders of the BJP-ruled corporation announced that each of the 104 councillors would be allowed to sanction Rs. 25,000 each for 20 RWAs in a ward for minor repair and maintenance works. Also, drains in unauthorised colonies, which are currently maintained by the Delhi government agencies, would be de-silted by the corporation, which is only responsible for sweeping in such colonies.
Vijay Prakash Pandey, the Leader of the House in the NDMC, said that the Engineering Department and the Department of Environment Management Services would carry out repair and maintenance of storm water drains in unauthorised colonies.
“The decision has been taken to keep the unauthorised colonies free of waterlogging issues during the monsoon,” said Mr. Pandey.
In a bid to decentralise funding of minor works, the corporation decided that councillors will be able to allocate Rs. 25,000 a year each to 20 RWAs in their respective wards.
This amount would be used for petty repairs and maintenance works in municipal parks, lights and other infrastructure.
The chairperson of the Standing Committee, Parvesh Wahi, said the move would help citizens carry out minor works quickly as it would be done without floating a tender. The funds would be disbursed and monitored by the junior engineer of the area.
No fund allocation yet
While both these decisions can be seen as citizen-friendly, the NDMC has not allocated any extra funds for the same. Funds for the RWAs are supposed to be allocated from the area councillor’s development fund. But, due to the financial crisis, the councillor’s fund has not been disbursed on time.
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Goel said these were “merely election promises” and could not be implemented as no budgetary allocations had been made.
“We haven’t been able to pay salaries on time, or disburse pensions. So how can we carry out these works? Plus, there are hundreds of RWAs in a ward, and sometimes multiple RWAs in the same colony. How will we decide the allocation? It will become a political tool,” said Mr. Goel.
He added that last financial year, the corporation had allocated Rs.3 crore for each councillor, but only Rs.50 lakh was disbursed.
This year, he said, the councillors would get only Rs.25 lakh, which was insufficient for carrying out the necessary works.

with thanks : The Hindu : LINK

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