Has the Delhi government’s R16,000 crore expenditure on Commonwealth Games left it cash-strapped? Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) believes it has.
The government has allegedly not paid the civic body money needed for civic projects.
The private contractors, in turn, are complaining.
“The MCD owes us nearly R600 crore and, due to the Delhi government’s delay (in releasing funds), the execution of projects will suffer,” says Sunil Vohra, president of the municipal contractors association.
What’s at stake? The construction and maintenance of vital civic infrastructure, including roads, drains and schools. Delhi’s finance minister denies there is a crunch. “We don’t get proper requests from MCD,” AK Walia says. “Their paperwork is not in place at most times. When they show us the work utilisation certificate, we will release the money.”
Delaying tactics, the civic body rebuts. “The government’s coffers are empty due to the Games. Our paperwork has been complete. They are making excuses,” says Yogender Chandolia, chairman of the MCD standing committee.
MCD gets R1,000 crore annually for works related to roads, sanitation, health and education from the government. But while it has received only one installment for health and education, it has received two installments for urban development and sanitation after the Games got over.