News Source: www.hindustantimes.com
South civic body says Delhi govt creating financial crisis; AAP hits back
News Source/Courtesy: www.hindustantimes.com

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Wednesday accused the Delhi government of “deliberately creating a financial crisis” in the civic body by not releasing its due amount of Rs 1,100 crore in this financial year and warned of a protest to press for their demand.

South Delhi mayor Anamika Mithilesh said the civic body’s councillors and employees would stage a sit-in outside the Delhi secretariat with a “begging bowl” from September 10 and demand release of their funds.

In response, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a statement said that if the BJP can’t run the municipal corporations, then they should resign immediately rather than “cry and make excuses” for every issue. “They are so steeped in corruption that they can’t even pay the salaries of MCD employees. AAP will run MCD efficiently in the present budget only,” AAP said.

During the pandemic, the civic authorities said, SDMC has spent Rs 4.35 crore on Covid-19 related measures but no monetary help was provided by the Delhi government.

“According to the 5th Delhi Finance Commission recommendations, the Delhi government has to give us our dues of Rs 1,100 crore for two quarters of the current financial year. We are yet to get this money from the government despite several communications. Not releasing money is an attempt to create a financial crunch in the civic body. We are now compelled to stage a sit-in protest at Delhi secretariat with begging bowls in our hands from September 10 to demand the release of our funds,” mayor Mithilesh said.

The government, she said, was not allowing the civic body to increase revenue by hiking one-time parking charges. “We had sent a proposal in 2018 to the government to allow us to increase one-time parking charges, which a new car buyer pays while purchasing a vehicle. The government, after keeping the file with them for a year, declined our request. They neither give us money nor do they allow us to increase taxes. So how should we survive?” she asked.

Under 5th Delhi Finance Commission, the Delhi government has to give 12.5% of its net tax collection to urban local bodies every year.

Narendra Chawla, leader of the house in the SDMC, said the Delhi government had decreased grants in sanitation, health and dengue control schemes.

“Even this 12.5% share is not being given to the civic body by the government. For dengue control, SDMC spends Rs 100 crore every year but the government gives Rs 36 crore only. In 2019-20, Rs 80 crore was given for sanitation purposes but no fund has been released for sanitation for 2020-21. Due to reduction in allotment of funds, sterilisation of dogs and management of stray cattle was also affected,” Chawla said.

Chawla said the government was not releasing even the allocated funds. In 2018-19, the government allocated Rs 1,081 crore but the civic body got only Rs 810 crore.

In 2019-20, it approved Rs 450 crore for SDMC but released only Rs 145.52 crore, he said.

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News Source: www.hindustantimes.com

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