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Sunday, October 17, 2021

MC polls near, councillors yet to spend development funds fully

Just after two months, the civic body will be going to polls. There are 26 councillors elected for a five-year term. They used to get Rs 40 lakh each per annum as ward development fund (WDF).

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
September 22, 2021 6:06:28 am
In 2018, councillors demanded that their fund be doubled to Rs 80 lakh. The annual WDF for each councillor was Rs 20 lakh in 2007 and Rs 30 lakh in 2008, which was increased to Rs 40 lakh in 2009.

Even as Municipal Corporation elections are two months away, ward development fund of some councillors remains unspent. There are some who could get funds of just 6 to 30 per cent allocated for their wards.
The worst sufferers were wards of villages and colonies where this amount is not being spent.

The fund is meant for addressing residents’ grievances related to sanitation, poor condition of roads, non-functional street lights, leaking pipelines or poor condition of parks. The unspent funds are carried forward to the following year. Those who did not make optimum use of these funds claim that the officials of the engineering wing either raised technical objections to the works which they recommended or officials cited paucity of funds for carrying out that particular work.
Here’s a look at the spending of the worst five wards:

Congress councillor Satish Kainth
WARD comprises 53 (Nehru Colony), 54, 55 (Housing Board), 55 Indira, Kamal and Adarsh Colony, Furniture Shops Sector 56, Rehablilitation Colony, Palsora, and Palsora village. Ward of Congress councillor Satish Kainth seemed to be one of the most neglected as Kainth’s ward development funds kept accumulating from 2019 itself but spending was meagre.
From 2018, funds of Rs 34.17 lakh got carried forward to 2019 and Kainth had Rs 114.57 crore to spend in his ward in 2019 itself. However, in the entire year, not even 10 per cent of it was got approved and works of just Rs 9 lakh out of the hefty ward development fund account were given the go-ahead. In year 2020, then Kainth was left with Rs 1.05 crore but even then work of only Rs 17.93 lakh could be allocated.
In the year 2021, of the ward development fund of Rs 80 lakh, he could get work of only Rs 35.47 lakh administratively approved which was just around 42 per cent. He says, “My several works are pending — two works of Rs 25 lakh each, one of Rs 17 lakh. They have stalled works of my ward, I don’t know why. They have started doing politics in ward development fund too. They keep dithering when it comes to development in my ward.”

BJP Councillor Anil Kumar Dubey
Ward comprises Mauli Complex (Railway Colony), Ambedkar Avas Yojna, Mauli Complex (Charan Singh Colony), Bhagat Singh Colony, Vikas Nagar, Shivalik Enclave and Mauli Complex (Housing Board).
Another ward which suffered this year was that of BJP councillor Anil Dubey. Despite getting ward development funds of Rs 80 lakh, administrative approval to only Rs 5 lakh has been given while the remaining Rs 75 lakh remains unspent. In 2020 as well, a time when due to COVID-19, fund crunch was going on and new funds couldn’t be allotted. Dubey’s previous carried forward funds, that of 2019, of Rs 36.02 lakh were left but that too weren’t spent.
Dubey represents an area which requires most attention.

BJP COUNCILLOR VINOD Aggarwal
Ward comprises Dhilon complex, Motor Market Pocket No. 8, Darshani Bagh, Subhash Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Pipli Wala Town, Gawala Colony, Indira Colony(Rehabilitation), Old Indira Colony Race Course and IT Park.
Works of just 42 per cent stand approved in the case of BJP councillor Vinod Aggarwal, that is Rs 33.73 lakh out of Rs 80 lakh, have been approved till now this year.
Aggarwal’s ward is suffering even when due to COVID-19, work couldn’t be done in the preceding year. However, not much efforts have been done this year too when it is the election year.

BJP Councillor Bharat Kumar
Ward comprises Karson Colony, Phase II Ramdarbar, Indira Awas Colony, Hallo Majra, Bair-Majra, Faidan-Burail and Char-Taraf-Burail. Bharat Kumar’s ward too seems neglected with works of just Rs 41.43 lakh being approved out of Rs 80 lakh. Bharat too represents the colony area that requires utmost attention.

BJP Councillor Farmila
Ward comprises Dadu Majra Colony, Dadu Majra and Shah Pur. Farmila’s ward too remained in the neglected ones where works of just Rs 51 lakh have been approved while the remaining Rs 30 lakh are unspent. Farmila has been having the history of poor spending as in 2019, she had accumulated funds of Rs 99.05 lakh which remained unspent even till now. Farmila’s ward Dadumajra itself requires a lot of attention. Known for broken streets and garbage dump, Dadumajra could have had neatly layered streets in the funds it was allocated.

BJP COUNCILLOR Shakti Devshali
Ward comprises Sector 29, Industrial Area Phase I, Industrial Area, Phase-I Sanjay Colony (SLUM), Industrial Area Phase I and Industrial Area (Phase I Colony No.4). In Devshali’s ward as well, only works of about Rs 29.66 have been approved which means only 37 per cent while the remaining 73 per cent remain unspent. He says, “Most my works are pending for approval. Works of house indicator boards, blocks in parking lots and various other works are lying pending. Some or the other objection has been put forth on my works.”

ELECTION YEAR
Just after two months, the civic body will be going to polls. There are 26 councillors elected for a five-year term. They used to get Rs 40 lakh each per annum as ward development fund (WDF). However, in 2018, councillors demanded that their fund be doubled to Rs 80 lakh. The annual WDF for each councillor was Rs 20 lakh in 2007 and Rs 30 lakh in 2008, which was increased to Rs 40 lakh in 2009. Since 2010, the councillors have been demanding a revision of WDF.

GOOD SPENDERS

Sunita Dhawan
work allocated for complete
` 80 lakh
Gurpreet Singh
work allocated for
` 79.66
Jagtar Singh
work allocated for
` 79.29 lakh
Mahesh Inder Sidhu
– work allocated for
` 75.41 lakh
Rajesh Gupta
work allocated for
` 78.57

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