The opposition Congress Tuesday dismissed claims of increasing revenue, made by the BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), and accused it of squandering surplus revenue from earlier years.
The party also claimed that the civic body is set to incur losses of over Rs 1,200 crore.
In a special meeting of the standing committee, Leader of Opposition Farhad Suri said, “The contention that revenue has increased is wrong. The corporation has squandered surplus revenue of previous years and is on the same financial path as the North and East civic bodies.”
The Congress leader asked the SDMC Commissioner to explain why the estimated revenue targets for the financial year 2015-16 had been “drastically reduced” despite claims of increased revenue. “What is more disturbing… is the inefficiency of the corporation in securing its internal sources,” said Suri.
The shortfall in internal receipts has gone up from 12.26 per cent to 74.85 per cent of the target, claimed Suri. He added that the revenue collected “without SDMC’s efforts” from toll tax, one-time parking charges and road restoration charges has increased.
The party also pointed out that no budgetary provisions have been made for installing solar panels on municipal buildings or for the construction of a head office in Dwarka. “You mention the same projects every year…. this year also, no new project has been initiated,” alleged Suri.
On the SDMC’s flagship Unique Property Identification Code scheme, Suri claimed that despite earmarking Rs 10 crore for this project, it was yet to be completed and had recorded a mere 8 per cent increase in the number of taxpayers in the corporation’s jurisdiction. The scheme is aimed at providing all property tax payers a unique identification number to make tax collection more efficient.
Suri claimed that not only the SDMC’s projected income but its projected expenditure also was “at least 25 per cent” less on an average. “In the last budget, they had claimed to have a budget surplus of over Rs 600 crore.. no one knows where that money is. How can a new financial year start with zero balance if in the previous year, there was a such a high surplus”.
The party has also called attention to the “lack of planning” by the corporation in dealing with the the city’s pollution problems.