WHAT THE government giveth it also taketh away - a lesson that is being brought home the hard way to Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC).
Days after it promised the civic body Rs 2.5 crore for repairing roads damaged during the recent rains, the government is learnt to have adjusted the sum against outstanding power dues run up by the Narmada project.
If true, the government’s manoeuvre means that though the record will list payments to the Corporation, not a single penny of this will actually reach the civic body. What it also means is that City motorists who were hoping for some respite from bumpy journeys will have to wait awhile for smoother rides.
Mayor Uma Shashi Sharma confirmed that there was some truth to fund diversion reports. “After hearing the news I contacted district in-charge Minister Himmat Kothari and (Urban Administration Development Minister) Jayant Mallaiya and urged them to ensure payment of road repair funds. Mallaiyaji has assured me that the money will be credited to IMC by Monday,” she
It may be recalled that the government agreed to provide half the amount after the Mayor petitioned Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for a sum of Rs 5 crore for repairing roads during a meeting in Bhopal on August 3.
News of the adjustment comes at a bad time for the Corporation, which is already grappling with demands by union bosses that salaries be paid ahead of time in view of the festive season.
Indore Nagar Nigam Karamchari Mahasangh president Ramlal Yadav has urged the Mayor to ensure distribution of wages by September 25 so that employees can make purchases in the run-up to Diwali.
With the government threatening to cut off octroi compensation, a major chunk of which goes towards salary payment, the demand has placed the civic body in a quandary. Sources revealed that paring of the octroi compensation had precipitated a fund crisis in August itself.
However, the Corporation temporarily managed to tide over things by arranging Rs 70 lakh from hoarding owners and this money was used to pay salaries.
After the recent HC directive, though, the Corporation has hardened its stance towards outdoor advertisers and it is unlikely that they would be willing to bail out the Corporation again. The Mayor, however, denied that there was any chance of salaries being delayed.
“The Chief Minister has assured that there would be no further reduction in octroi payments,” she said and added that even if funds were cut off, the Corporation would manage to make do.
“When no octroi money was received in August we made alternative arrangements to pay salaries. If the need arises we will do so again this month,” she asserted confidently.