Delhi to set up fact-finding committee to probe MCD finances

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Days after a prolonged garbage crisis hit east Delhi, setting off a war of words between the AAP government and the BJP-ruled Municipal corporations, the Delhi assembly on Tuesday resolved to set up a fact-finding committee to look into the “extremely poor financial management” in the three municipal corporations.

The resolution was moved by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj following discussion on alleged fiscal mismanagement in the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs).

The resolution was seconded by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Supporting the resolution, Sisodia said, “After municipal elections in Delhi, we will run the MCDs in the same amount of money that we are giving to the civic bodies now, and no employee will have to wait for their salaries.”

Sisodia added that all the employees of the three MCDs can get their salaries in just 10 per cent of the money that municipal councillors earn in bribes.

Moving the resolution Bharadwaj said a fact finding committee should immediately be set up by the government so that transparency could be brought in the financial management of the corporations and it could be found out where the money being given to MCDs by the Delhi government is going.

The Delhi government earlier said it had given significantly more money to the three MCDs in the last two years compared to the previous governments.

“This House condemns the sorry state of affairs that has led to non-payment of salaries of employees in these two corporations, particularly the sanitation workers and the resultant hardships being faced by the residents of Delhi due to piled up garbage and other related problems,” the resolution read.

“This House notes that the MCDs have failed to pay the salaries of their employees despite having received enhanced funds from the Government of Delhi and the residents of Delhi have a right to know how the MCDs are utilising these funds,” it added.

It also asked the Delhi government to take all possible steps to look into the finances of the MCDs and to direct the municipal corporations to inform the steps being taken to improve their financial condition.

Bhardwaj said that the report of the fact finding committee should be tabled in the next session of the assembly (budget session).

The resolution was unanimously passed by a voice vote.

During the discussion over the issue, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said that the financial crisis has become a huge problem for the MCDs.

“The crisis will not be over till a lasting solution is found. There will again be a strike, I tell you, if revenue gap is not bridged,” Gupta said.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain responded that the gap was not just in the revenue and expenses of MCDs, but also in the “income and expenses of the MCD councillors”.

“These councillors earn Rs 100 in bribe for every work worth Rs 10. Then they complain about the revenue gap.”

“People are waiting for the AAP to take over the MCDs. They know that the BJP and the Congress are the two sides of the same coin and now they (people) are going to demonetise that coin,” he said.

The move comes after the indefinite strike called by sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation leading to a garbage crisis, over non payment of salaries.

The BJP-ruled East Corporation has blamed the Delhi government of withholding funds and not implementing reform policies to make MCDs more financially viable.

All the three municipal corporations in Delhi are being ruled by BJP, but depend financially on the state government.

The garbage strike by sanitation workers in east Delhi was the fifth such strike in two years.

The move to set up a fact-finding panel is likely to heat up the AAP-MCD politics with municipal polls due later this year,

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North Corporation, South Corporation and East Corporation.