Once the results of the municipal poll comes out next month, Delhi would get three smaller corporations for east, south and north instead of one Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The idea behind the breaking up of the world’s second biggest municipal body is to provide efficient civic services through decentralisation. This, however, is not the first time Delhi would have smaller local bodies. The area that is under the jurisdiction of MCD, was looked after by 10 different committees 54 years ago.
The origin of civic administration in Delhi could be traced back to 1862 when the Delhi Municipal Commission came into existence. The commission was later replaced by the Delhi Municipal Committee, which functioned as the only civic body for half-a-century. There was, however, a Delhi District Board, constituted in 1883, that looked after the rural areas of Delhi.
The need for more civic agencies was felt when the city started expanding beyond Shahjahanabad. This is why two Notified Area Committees came up for Mehrauli and Najafgarh in 1910.
Delhi's growth got an impetus when it was declared as the new Capital of British India in 1911. As the temporary Capital came up in the Civil Lines area, a separate notified area committee was formed for Civil Lines.
Separate area committees also came up for Shahdara (1916), Narela (1919) and Red Fort area (1924). The area of New Delhi and Cantonment remained out of the purview of the municipality.
With the huge influx of refugees after Independence and Partition in 1947, new areas were settled and new municipal committees came up for south (1954) and west Delhi (1955).
However, by mid-1950s, it was felt that with so many small committees, the uniform development of the city was being hampered. This led to the formation of the MCD in 1958 after the amalgamation of nine local bodies and the Delhi District Board.
"Delhi needed a unified municipal body because there was no coordination between these smaller committees,” said Mahesh Chand Sharma, former mayor of Delhi. "It is very necessary for the city to have a single civic body and it is unfortunate that the MCD is once again going to be broken up into smaller bodies," he added.