BJP councillors at Chandigarh civic body budget meet: Double our Ward Development Fundhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/bjp-councillors-at-chandigarh-civic-body-budget-meet-double-our-ward-development-fund-5584972/

BJP councillors at Chandigarh civic body budget meet: Double our Ward Development Fund

The demand has been made in the absence of MC Commissioner K K Yadav who is not in favour of increasing the Ward Development Fund due to financial crunch.

BJP councillors at Chandigarh civic body budget meet: Double our Ward Development Fund
The MC House meeting in progress on Thursday. (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi)

With a sum of Rs 33 crore in hand for development works, BJP councillors in General House on Thursday called for doubling their Ward Development Fund (WDF) from Rs 40 lakh each to Rs 80 lakh. Municipal Corporation (MC) Chandigarh has around Rs 525 crore at its disposal, including grant-in-aid and projected receipts, of which Rs 492 crore are spent on salaries and committed liabilities. But, the civic body passed a Rs 1,260.31-crore budget for 2019-20 in a special budget meeting held Thursday.

The MC has got a grant-in-aid of Rs 375 crore from administration, of which Rs 100 crore is for smart city project. So, it is left with Rs 275 crore as grant. The civic body’s own projected receipt is around Rs 250 crore. As of now, 26 councillors get Ward Development Funds for a total of Rs 10.40 crore, but if their demand for doubling the fund is approved, Rs 20.80 crore will be spent.

The demand has been made in the absence of MC Commissioner K K Yadav who is not in favour of increasing the Ward Development Fund due to financial crunch. The officials had made a provision for increasing the ward development fund to Rs 50 lakh, but the councillors were not satisfied. In the past, it has been noticed that councillors hardly utilised their ward development fund.

Also, they demanded that the discretionary fund for senior deputy mayor be hiked from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and for deputy mayor from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. Special Commissioner Sanjay Jha, though, was not convinced with the increase in Ward Development Fund. He apprised the House that they are already short of funds.

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The minutes will now be sent to local government secretary for a final approval.

Other minutes

* MC expects the water tariff and sewerage cess receipts to go up from Rs 76 crore to Rs 100 crore. In property tax, they have projected a hike from Rs 25 crore to Rs 40 crore.
* The MC approved a sum of Rs 468.90 crore under the capital head and Rs 791.41 crore under the revenue head.
* It demanded Rs 1,024 crore as grant-in-aid from UT.
* A provision of Rs 42 crore has been kept for the transport section, while Rs 1 crore each has been earmarked for primary health and primary education.
* Special provision of Rs 2 crore sought for Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th birth anniversary. BJP Councillor Arun Sood said that when Centre and Punjab was celebrating Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, Chandigarh MC should also organize the same in Chandigarh. Now the civic body has decided to celebrate it throughout the the year.

Rebel councillor stages walkout with Independent member

Rebel Councillor Satish Kainth staged a walkout with Independent Councillor Dalip Sharma stating that the
meeting was not in accordance with law.

Kainth was also critical of the budget. “From where will this Rs 700 crore, which is in excess of revenue, come, for which they are preparing this budget. It is not a realisitic budget. Moreover, this special meeting is illegal and not as per the act, so I staged a walkout. The mayor will have to bear the expenses of this meeting,” he said.

Babla objects to Sood meeting officials

Congress Councillor Devinder Singh Babla questioned former mayor Arun Sood for holding a meeting of the MC officials in the absence of Mayor Rajesh Kalia.

Sood said that since he has experience of Kajauli waterworks, for which the meeting was held, he was called by Kalia. Kalia had to leave for a party’s event, he said.