In the run-up to the 2012 municipal elections, the Delhi government has decided to take up construction and repair work of roads and drainage-related work.
Clipping the wings of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the Delhi government has decided to withdraw the R120 crore annual loan to the civic agency.
According to sources, chief minister Sheila Dikshit chaired a meeting in June where this decision was taken.
Earlier this month, the secretary of urban development RK Srivastava wrote to MCD commissioner KS Mehra expressing discontent over the work carried out by the MCD. The letter states that the issue of maintenance of roads in approved colonies was discussed at a cabinet meeting in June where minister of transport and education Arvinder Singh complained of bad roads.
On Tuesday, when this letter was read out at the MCD house meeting, there was an uproar.
Henceforth, funds will be routed through MLAs who will decide on the areas as well as the agency to be engaged for the purpose. MCD, however, will still be responsible for maintaining the roads once the roads are laid. The MCD maintains about 30,000 km of road length in the Capital.
"Funds have been provided by the department to the MCD for undertaking repair and maintenance, but MCD invariably diverts these for some other purposes and people continue to suffer," it read.
Refuting the charges, Mehra said the money is not transferable and so the accusation of fund diversion was incorrect.
Leader of the MCD House Subhash Arya said: "Some roads in Delhi are also maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD) and New Delhi Municipal Corporation. So why is only the MCD being targeted?"
MCD councillors also accused the Delhi government of trying to snatch the powers vested with the MCD. Former Mayor Arti Mehra said, "The Delhi government first took away responsibilities, such as slum development and transport, from the MCD. Now it is trying to take away road repair." She added trifurcation of MCD would further weaken the civic body.
The urban development department had released a total of R25 crore this year. According to sources, the money was not used by the MCD for carrying out repair work or for construction of new roads.