Mayors of the three municipal corporations Saturday issued a newspaper advertisement to “expose the Delhi government and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal” and blamed them for the acute financial crisis faced by the civic bodies .
The advertisement was jointly issued by North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Ravinder Gupta, East Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Harshdeep Malhotra and South Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Subhash Arya.
This was an initiative by the three mayors, not by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), said MCD officials.
The advertisement claimed that the Delhi government was “constitutionally mandated and fully responsible for the management of the civic bodies”, citing Article 243 (WXY) of the Constitution — “state government is fully responsible for the municipal corporations in the state” — to back its claim.
The mayors have claimed that the state government owed Rs 1,139 crore to the three municipal corporations in grants and Rs 1,322 crore in municipal reform funds.
They also accused the Kejriwal government of repeatedly providing wrong information about the funds released by the state government to the municipal corporations, claiming that the advertisement issued today was an attempt to “correct that.”
In an open letter, published on October 30, the chief minister had said that there was a misconception among the people that municipal corporations fell under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government, and termed it “absolutely incorrect”.
The mayors have also sought the implementation of the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission’s recommendations. The BJP-led corporations, which are struggling to keep their welfare schemes afloat, have earlier targeted the AAP government over the proposed salary hike of Delhi’s legislators.
According to them, while the AAP government seemed to have the funds to increase the salaries of MLAs five fold, it neither seemed to have money to support the corporations’ pension schemes nor the funds to provide financial assistance to the civic bodies, so that they could pay their employees their salaries regularly .
On Friday, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Standing Committee Chairman Mohan Bhardwaj disputed the Delhi government’s announcement that it had released “double” the amount of funds to the North civic body, as compared to last year.
“The truth is that as per the difference of the recommendations of the Third Finance Commission and Fourth Finance Commission, Rs 700 crore more must be released to the corporation, which has not yet been released by Delhi government,” he said.