Not satisfied with the nearly Rs 1.5 crore allotted to them as discretionary funds every year, the city’s corporators want more money.
They have petitioned Mayor Shraddha Jadhav for more funds after she got Rs 75 crore for the mayor’s fund.
The cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has put a string of new civic projects on hold, but it is particularly generous with allotting funds for corporators, who now get larger allotments than MLAs – a corporator gets more than Rs 1.5 crore for use in his or her ward, while an MLA gets Rs 1 crore, despite representing a population base that is thrice as large as a corporator’s ward.
And citizen groups are demanding stringent checks to ensure the money released for corporators’ funds actually gets spent on the city, instead of ending up in the corporators’ bank accounts.
“There must be a system of foolproof checks and balances on the basis of utilization of these funds – after all, this is taxpayer money,” said Nayana Kathpalia co-convenor of the NGO, Citispace. Funds must not be used for the same work repeatedly, she added.
Apart from the Rs 1.1 crore allotted as development fund for each corporator’s ward, and the Rs 35 lakh as the corporator’s fund, corporators are asking the mayor for more money. The BMC has set aside Rs 75 crore for additional development work – the mayor will decide where that money should be spent.
Niyaz Vanu, Nationalist Congress Party group leader in the BMC, met Mayor Jadhav and asked for Rs 50 lakh for each NCP corporator, to spend on civic work. Jadhav said: “I will sanction money on the basis of priority and necessity. I have not yet decided on the distribution of funds”. She confirmed the NCP demand and asked them to write to her in an official capacity.
“If the BMC has not taken up any new development work, why should so much money be allotted to corporators? The administration should stop the fund or cut down its size,” a former Shiv Sena corporator said on condition of anonymity.