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With the Delhi municipal elections just a few days away, the National Green Tribunal on Thursday took these civic bodies to task for not utilising the funds alloted to them by the Centre and asked them to rationalise the staff to meet the financial crunch. “Why do you make a hue and cry over funds? The Centre gives you so much funds. What are you doing with all this money? We had asked you to rationalise the staff or outsource the work. Have you carried out any study in this regard,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked.
The green panel noted that the Centre had allotted over Rs 1000 crore to the three corporations, but they were still short of funds and payment to their staff was being delayed. “You want to do away with the property tax, cleaning tax and other taxes. You people want to be so goody-goody. Why don’t you impose fine on those who violate green laws and collect money from them? This you will not do,” the bench said.
The counsel for the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) said the Delhi government grants funds under two heads, planned and non-planned expenditure, and all the money is spent accordingly. He blamed the AAP government for not releasing funds under the non-planned expenditure head and said the EDMC has always been facing financial difficulties due to the “step-motherly” treatment by the city government.
The lawyer said it was the Delhi government which had established the EDMC and now the corporation has become financially unviable. The tribunal had earlier criticised the EDMC for its “apathy” towards the garbage mess and directed it to submit details of its total income along with the money allocated by Delhi government to ascertain the reason for delay in payment of salaries to sanitation workers.
While directing the EDMC to submit details of planned and non-planned expenditure, the NGT also asked Central Pollution Control Board and Delhi Pollution Control Committee to apprise it of the action they have taken to deal with municipal solid waste in Delhi and whether any action has been taken against the violators.