Even though the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has been facing a financial crunch, the Finance and Contract Committee on Monday doubled the discretionary fund for senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor. Under discretionary funds, the amount can be spent on any development work in the city except for the councillor’s own ward.
While the discretionary fund for the senior deputy mayor has been doubled to Rs 40 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, that of the deputy mayor was doubled to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh.
The discretionary funds for the mayor are Rs 2 crore, already. Members of the committee, Raj Bala Malik, Gurbax Rawat and others, stated that there was a huge difference between funds allocated to mayor and those allocated to the senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor. “Though initially it was said that it may be thought over next time, the mayor said that since it was for development work, the increase in funds should not have any objection,” said an official who attended the meeting.
Senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor are from BJP chief Sanjay Tandon’s camp while the mayor owes allegiance to Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher and former MP Satya Pal Jain. Recently, the Tandon camp was up in arms, claiming that Moudgil was not including them in key decisions. So, the move to increase discretionary funds seemed to be Moudgil’s attempt to avoid resistance from their side and maintain peace between the two camps.
Meanwhile, in order to generate funds for the cash-strapped civic body, it has been decided that the administration would be conveyed that either the department of Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) be handed over to them or the grant of 30 per cent as per the Fourth Finance Commission be given to the corporation.
“The corporation is already passing through a crisis. So, we will be meeting the administrator after February 15 with the demand that either the revenue from RLA be given to us or the grants as per the Fourth Finance Commission,” said a senior officer.
While the civic body has passed the budget of Rs 910.70 crore, the grant-in-aid received was just Rs 269 crore.