Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may insist that the handover of certain powers over the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will not take away the powers of any elected representative but it is not so.
The powers the Centre proposes the Delhi government takes over ensures that the latter will call all the shots about the civic agency.
Delhi government officials are upbeat about the proposal coming through in a couple of weeks. But the government apparently wants more powers of the Lieutenant-Governor's list onto its own.
“The power to inspect and ask for account books for scrutiny is still with the L-G,” said a highly placed source, who refused to be named.
Opposition leaders, however, are saying the move will not make much of a difference. “The powers under Centre will be delegated to Delhi government. This does not mean the MCD comes under Delhi government. The Corporation comes under them if we get full statehood. For that we need to amend the Constitution and the MCD Act,” said Delhi BJP chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
The Delhi cabinet has forwarded the matter to a three member state committee comprising the chief secretary, law secretary and urban development secretary.
Among the powers proposed to be handed over to the Sheila Dikshit government is control over the establishment of the municipal corporation, division of Delhi in zones, delimitation of wards, tackling of corrupt practices, power to make rules for election of councillors, appointment of the commissioner and hold over procedure for making contracts and clearing projects.
“The Home Ministry has sent us a list of 23 powers out of 38 which the L-G exercises in Delhi which we can take over. This includes power over all matters related to streets. The CM can choose which agency will maintain which street. We also get power over matters related to MCD schools,” said the source.
Dikshit once again repeated her stance that the government was not trying to make MCD councillors ineffectual. “How can one elected body take away the powers of another elected body? This is only for streamlining things,” she insisted.
Malhotra added that Dikshit was trying these stunts to divert “people’s attention from the Delhi government's failure in solving problems”.
“It (government) is trying to cover up its own inefficiency in the garb of taking over MCD,” he said.