In a setback to Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the UT Administration, through a communique sent on Wednesday, has asked the civic body to manage finances on its own. The MC, hit by a severe financial crisis, has been trying hard to get additional funds from the UT Administration.
Referring to the corporation’s Rs 910-crore budget which was sent to the administration for its final approval, a reply by the local government secretary specified that the grant-in-aid (GIA) from the administration already allocated was Rs 269 crore of which Rs 69 crore has already been given. The letter specified “that the budget is approved subject to the condition that all other expenses (remaining budget), over and above the grant-in-aid, will have to be met by your own resources only”.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal, also the Local Government Secretary, said, “The Government of India has allocated Rs 269 crore to them and then they prepared a budget of Rs 910.76 crore. So, that’s why it has been clarified to them that even though the budget has been approved, they will have to manage the finances on their own because we can’t give more than the allocated GIA amount.”
Aggarwal said that for any additional grant, they will have to talk to the Ministry of Finance but the UT Administration would not be able to help in any way. “We don’t get funds in lump sum from the government. They are allocated department wise by the ministry and we can’t divert any other department’s share to the corporation without the approval of the Ministry of Finance,” he added.
MC Commissioner K K Yadav confirmed to Chandigarh Newsline that the letter has been received. “The administration has told us that the budget is approved but with a condition that the remaining budget, which is over and above the grant-in-aid, will have to be met by our own resources only. So, we will now make a detailed plan on how to restructure our finances as we cannot let development work suffer,” he said.
The councillors had gone to meet the UT Administration for funds in three groups. The first group comprised BJP councillors led by party chief Sanjay Tandon, the second group was of Congress councillors and the third of Finance and Contract Committee members.
The councillors said UT had a revenue of Rs 3,738 crore and MC may be released 30 per cent of UT’s share as recommended by the 4th Finance Commission. The annual committed liabilities of the MC for financial year 2018-19 were Rs 492 crore and total income of the corporation was Rs 438 crore (MC’s own receipts and GIA by the administration).
There was even a Rs 54-crore shortfall to pay salaries and other committed liabilities. Contractors have not been taking up any work only because the MC has not paid their pending dues. Also, no new development works are being taken up now.