UNTIL NOW it had only seen crores of rupees pour in unhesitatingly from the Centre’s urban development corpus. On Wednesday, however, IMC officials got their first taste of the other side of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) largesse.
A three-member delegation led by Deputy Secretary, Urban Ministry of Home Affairs, Venu Gopal landed at IMC headquarters today and grilled civic body bosses about tardy implementation of reforms mandated by the Mission.
The team members are learned to have hauled Municipal Commissioner Vinod Sharma over the coals for failure to put a double entry bookkeeping system into place and demanded to know why the corporation was functioning without a Chartered Accountant.
The three is also reported to have expressed concern over the corporation’s lack of fiscal robustness and low revenue collection efficiency.
The message came through loud and clear: just because we’ve okayed funding for developmental works doesn’t mean you’re going to have carte blanche with the funds. In fact, you can be sure we’re going to keep an eagle’s eye on how and where the money is spent.
The team members also expressed a desire to inspect work on the Yeshwant Sagar capacity enhancement and Indore City Sewerage Plan projects but were told that work on neither project had begun because funds from the Centre had yet to come through.
At this, IDA Assistant Town Planner V Marathe offered to take the Mission team on a tour of the Rs 68-crore road construction project being carried out by the Authority for the Bus Rapid Transit System.
Earlier, Sharma, Additional Municipal Commissioner and JNNURM projects in-charge Kumar Purshottam, City Engineers Hans Kumar Jain, Harbhajan Singh, GP Pathak and other top officials led the Mission team on a guided tour of the single-window clearance for Building Permission.
“The system is being upgraded and soon the permission fee would be automatically tabulated by the computer once the data is fed in”, team members were informed.
The Mission delegation was then taken for an inspection of the ongoing computerisation of Building Permission records. “Eight-five per cent of the records have already been computerised and the data will be linked with the Geographical Information System (GIS) tenders for which were floated recently once it is in place”, revealed Purshottam.
The Mission officials then convened a briefed meeting with the officials in the Municipal Commissioner’s room where they are learnt to have directed the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC administration to prepare projects that answered an immediate public need.
For this to be done effectively, they declared, the civic body needed to involving elected representatives and Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) while deciding on which projects are to be forwarded for Mission funding.
1 Adoption of accrual-based double-entry bookkeeping system.
2 Use of IT applications including GIS and MIS for urban services.
3 Property tax reform with collection efficiency of 85 per cent.
4 Internal earmarking of budgets for basic services to urban poor.
5 Users to be charged at rates that would allow full recovery of project as well as maintenance costs within 7 years.