Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday announced a loan of Rs 551 crore to the North and East corporations to settle salaries of employees till January 31. Kejriwal made the announcement through a video conference from Bengaluru, where he is undergoing naturopathy treatment.
Alleging “massive scams” in the three BJP-ruled corporations, Kejriwal called for a CBI inquiry into the financial loss.
In a video conference with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal also directed that seven hospitals under the corporations be considered for a takeover by the government, as per a request by hospital unions’ and doctors.
These include Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Gandhi, Lala Hansraj Hospital, Swami Dayanand Hospital. If the takeover happens, the corporations will benefit, said the CM.
Sisodia said, “Rs 456 crore is required by the North and Rs 237 crore by the East. We have arranged to release Rs 693 crore — Rs 142 crore as duty to the north corporation and a loan of Rs 551 crore to be distributed among North and East.”
With the strike entering the eighth day, Kejriwal said, “It saddens me to say that the MCD has been under lockdown. MCD schools and hospitals are closed. Garbage is everywhere. The whole episode clearly shows one thing — that it was the BJP which made the capital dirty and it was the AAP government along with PWD that cleaned it up.”
Raising questions about where the money had gone, Kejriwal asked how the corporations paid salaries for the past four years and why they could not do so this year.
“This is a huge scam. Where did the money go? It must have been diverted. We want it to be audited…,” said Kejriwal.
He added, “The Centre had the CBI run an inquiry on me, yet I did not get scared. So why are you afraid of us? This is the era of RTI. Where did parking, house tax, conversion and toll tax go… where did the advertisement revenue go? It was stolen. If you go to the building department, not even a single map is cleared without a bribe. Councillors get Rs 3,000 but they have enormous wealth. It is classic case of financial mismanagement and corruption.”
Kejriwal said the East corporation gets Rs 12 crore from advertisements. “One hoarding is Rs 1 lakh per month. Does that mean east Delhi has just 100 hoardings? … Last year’s parking revenue was Rs 2.5 crore. When I asked a parking attendant, he said the revenue was just from two small parking lots. CBI must look into this.”
On the Fourth Finance Commission report, CM said if the Centre hands over the Delhi Development Authority to Delhi, “the government will give two per cent of the tax collected within two hours to corporations”.
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Funds not alms, but right of civic bodies: Mayors
Mayors of Delhi’s three BJP-ruled municipal corporations Wednesday said the AAP government was giving funds with “unconstitutional riders” to the civic bodies for disbursing salaries, and asserted the money was not charity but their constitutional right.
“It is not alms, but a constitutional right of the corporations under Article 243. It is a political gimmick of AAP-led Delhi government to trap the corporations in debt, as the Chief Minister is eying the 2017 municipal elections,” said the mayors.
All three mayors — Ravinder Gupta (North Delhi), Harsh Malhotra (East Delhi) and Subhash Arya (South Delhi) — said they were ready for a CBI inquiry against the corporations as demanded by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, but an inquiry should also be conducted against “corrupt Delhi government and its MLAs.” The mayors demanded the Delhi government release funds as per the Third Finance Commission and implement the recommendations of the Fourth Finance Commission, as no amount of loan will provide a permanent solution.