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Chandigarh: Sorry, we don’t have funds to make roads, says Municipal Commissioner

“We don’t have any funds to make roads. In fact, our financial position is such that it will become difficult to pay salaries to the employees as well,” Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav said.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
Updated: September 17, 2019 12:52:43 pm
MP Kirron Kher addresses the MC House meeting in Chandigarh on Monday. (Express photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

As the city grapples with craters and broken roads, Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav on Monday said that roads cannot be made as there are no funds with the civic body. Those roads that are incomplete will remain incomplete until funds arrive.

He made this statement in the General House meeting which was discussing the agenda of signing an MoU with the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training & Research (NITTTR) for 30 years to ensure quality control in roads. The corporation manages over 1,800 kilometres of roads in the city.

“We don’t have any funds to make roads. In fact, our financial position is such that it will become difficult to pay salaries to the employees as well,” Commissioner Yadav said.

The commissioner said that certain agenda items which he had thought would earn revenue for the corporation had been rejected, so the hope for revenue generation had also been dashed.

Asserting that people were facing great difficulty as the city roads were full of potholes, BJP councillor and former mayor Arun Sood asked the officers about those Rs 50 crore additional funds that were given by the UT Administration as grant for the construction of roads to the civic body.

To this, the officials replied that the 2017-18 fund had already been spent for roads and there are no fresh funds to carry out the work.

“When we don’t have funds to make roads then what is the need for bringing this agenda of giving NITTTR the technical survey?” Sood asked.

However, Mayor Rajesh Kalia said that they would meet the UT Administrator seeking funds for roads. The agenda was then passed as the councillors stated that whenever funds arrived, at least NITTTR would ensure quality control and also a survey of broken roads now. NITTTR would carry out the technical and condition survey for Rs 36 lakh for 300 kilometre whenever roads are made.

Most of the city roads have been left incomplete as there are no funds.

Nominated councillor Sat Prakash Aggarwal said, “At least we can carry out some patchwork. I have been told by the officials that there are no funds for patchwork too.”

Additional Commissioner Anil Garg then said that they have a total of Rs 93 crore as grant-in-aid till December from the administration and from this amount salaries also have to be given. Every month, committed liabilities of the MC, including salaries, power and telephone bills, amount to around Rs 40 crore.

Chandigarh Newsline in a series of stories last month had highlighted how Rs 50.73 crore spent on road recarpeting has literally gone down the drain. Newsline visited recarpeted roads with a former chief engineer who pointed out construction defects. The MC manages 80 per cent of the roads (V3, V4, V5, V6, parking roads, village roads, phirni roads) in the city and the administration has just V1 and V2 roads.

Facing flak for poor quality roads that broke within days of recarpeting, Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav had called the Associate Professor from the civil engineering department of the agency, Dr Ajay Duggal, for a presentation. Since the civic officials would get the quality control done from private contractors that did not ensure proper quality, the commissioner asked if there was a probability of signing an MoU for a long period so that the agency keeps assisting them in ensuring quality.

NITTTR had proposed that it will charge a whopping Rs 63.06 lakh up to 300 kilometers every year if Chandigarh Municipal Corporation signs a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 30 years to maintain city roads. However, the Municipal Corporation in its “economical sustainable proposal” in response to NITTTR’s proposal had suggested that it won’t be able to shell out more than Rs 36.60 lakh.

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