Installation of tubewells and taps,construction of public toilets and bathrooms or laying of roads,footpaths and providing facilities in parks – these are among some of the activities where the councillors can spend their ward development fund. While the amount given to the councillors has increased from Rs 5 lakh in 1997 to Rs 40 lakh at present,there has been no change in the scope of work for which funds can be sanctioned. A proposal has now been mooted to review the scope of the fund.
When the Municipal Corporation was formed,the councillors were allotted Rs 5 lakh a year as ward development fund. The amount was fixed by the then councillors. Gradually as the amount of funds with the civic body increased there was an enhancement in the funds given to the councillors.
However over the past few years,a substantial part of the funds are being allocated for installation of benches,laying paver blocks or installing fountains. The same is the case with the Mayor Development Fund. Most of these works are also undertaken with budget under the Plan Head. The agenda items passed during the meetings of the general house and Finance and Contract Committee are mostly about these works.
A proposal for increasing the scope of ward development fund has been mooted by BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil. He says,The scope of the fund is limited and within defined measures. The range needs to be widened for development of the ward. A few other areas can be included where the councillor should be able to sanction funds.
The civic body is likely to constitute a committee for the purpose. The committee would work out a proposal for inclusion of more areas under the ambit of the ward development fund. Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth says,There are a lot of works that needs to be done in an area. There are times when residents request us for getting certain work done which officials tell us cannot be executed under the plan head. If the scope of the ward development fund is increased then we would be able to look into the demands of the residents.
During the last term of the Municipal Corporation,the nominated councillors had also raised the demand for a city development fund that they could allocate in any ward. The proposal was vehemently opposed by the elected councillors across party lines.