The three municipal corporations of Delhi provide civic services to 97 per cent of the city. The New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Cantonment Board cover the remaining areas. Justifying the trifurcation of the MCD, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said trifurcation was the result of careful deliberation with a view to decentralise municipal governance in the capital.
“The decision to trifurcate the MCDs was consciously taken after deliberations with the Centre. The idea was that one commissioner had to deal with civic responsibilities of a very large area and we wanted it to be easier for the public to access the commissioner at any time,” Dikshit said.
The three time chief minister said that trifurcation was supposed to make it easier to govern the geographical spread and the population of the city. However, she disagreed that the corporation’s current financial crisis is based on the decision made by her government. “If trifurcation was to lead to a crisis, it would have happened immediately and not four years after implementation,” Dikshit said.
Adding that trifurcation was planned meticulously, she also argues that it “could not have increased the financial burden of the civic bodies” since all assets were divided. However, officials of the corporation point to the fact that many new posts had to be created to be able to cope with trifurcation and the financial cost of these was realised much later. “Can those rooting for unification guarantee that salaries will be paid in time if the corporations are brought together?,” she asked.
At the time of trifurcation, financial deficits of the new civic bodies were expected to be taken care of by the state government. With a change in government, that is a concern yet to be addressed. “During our government’s rule, we gave them adequate advance at the beginning of the year and made sure that thousands of the MCD’s class four employees were not left unpaid.”
Dikshit said the AAP government cannot absolve itself of their responsibility towards the corporations in the national capital. “If a disease breaks out and the employees go on strike, who will take responsibility for that crisis?,” she asked.