Faulty drainage system, construction of new streets and broken pathways — all development works in your locality will have to wait for now.
The local area development fund at the disposal of municipal councillors is going to be drastically reduced from Rs 2 crore per councillor to Rs 50 lakh.
According to well-placed sources in the government, directions in this regard have already been received from the Lt Governor’s office in March.
“The proposal is pending with the Delhi government and a decision in this regard will be taken soon. Directions were sent to the MCD regarding restricting the local area fund to Rs 50 lakh,” said a senior MCD official requesting anonymity.
The official added that though the fund was increased from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore and then doubled later by the legislative wing, it was only in name, as there was no permission from the government.
The civic agency had increased the funds from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore last year ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections.
“The legislative wing can’t increase funds on its own as permission is required from the government. MLAs and MPs already get Rs 2 crore each and now the councillors do too. Where are they going to spend all this money?” the official said.
Resident welfare associations have welcomed the idea.
“The councillors adopted pick-and-choose policy while utilising these funds and it was all done in an unplanned manner. Also Rs 2 crore was too huge an amount for 272 councillors and the money was usually spent as a populist measure,” said Rajiv Kakaria, member of Greater Kailash, part I, RWA.
Recently, councillors who were unable to use their funds last year were told that they wouldn’t be able to use the funds this year as it has lapsed.
These funds come under the non-planned head, which means their source is the revenue made by the civic body, collection of toll tax and property tax from the public. However, the money, which should have been ideally spent on development work for the public, lapsed.
According to Congress Councillor Farhad Suri only 20 per cent municipal councillors were able to spend their funds last year.