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Monday, July 16, 2018

Officials: No new development agenda at House meet as Chandigarh MC runs out of funds

A senior official said since the MC would be struggling to pay salaries, there was no option but to stop taking up new development work.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: April 14, 2018 1:35:08 pm
Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, cmc, house funds, development agenda, indian express Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (File)

IT WOULD be for the first time in the history of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation that no new development-related agenda would be taken up at the general house meeting. Reason? As the MC has run out of funds, no development-related agenda can be taken up, said MC officials.

The meeting, scheduled for April 16, will just have hike in parking, policy matters that is no work involving expenditure on the agenda. Agendas of Rs 35 crore were prepared by road divisions to carry out recarpeting in Chandigarh have been returned while bills worth Rs 16 crore which contractors had submitted to road, public health and other divisions for payment have been stopped as the MC has no money to pay.

Details accessed by Chandigarh Newsline revealed that the balance with the MC at the Oriental Bank of Commerce is Rs 3 crore while fixed deposits of the civic body as on March 31, 2018, are Rs 18 crore. Pending liabilities such as salaries and pensions, which are to be paid as of now, are Rs 21.84 crore.

A senior official said since the MC would be struggling to pay salaries, there was no option but to stop taking up new development work.

“Even the total amount of grant, which will be received from the UT Administration for the new fiscal and receipts totalling Rs 438 crore (Rs 267.26 crore grant-in-aid plus MC’s own receipts worth Rs 171 crore), and the committed liabilities, including salaries, pensions, daily wages, outsourcing, petrol payments, electricity and water bills, are Rs 492 crore. From where will we pay the shortfall of Rs 54 crore?” said the official.

Not just have the new agendas been stopped but the existing works of road recarpeting, sewerage, green belts and toe walls for an amount of Rs 20 crore have been put on hold. The contractors have stopped taking up work as funds have dried up.

MC Commissioner Jitender Yadav refused to comment on why no new development agenda would be taken up by the House.

Many councillors had sent their agendas but they got to know from the officials that no development-related agenda would be taken up.

City Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra said the MC will have to shut down soon. “What is the use of the MC when it won’t be able to do any work? It’s better that it shuts down now.”

Former mayor and BJP Councillor Asha Jaswal said: “There is crisis in the MC. This is for the first time that no new development agenda is coming up and something needs to be done urgently.”

BJP Councillor Arun Sood said he has appealed to the mayor to do something immediately. “The mayor had promised that he would not let the MC face financial crisis and this is the situation where contractors have stopped work. There is a dire need of revenue generation,” he said.

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