A day after the general body meeting of the civic corporation approved the increase in corporator’s honorarium; the standing committee gifted them with brand new android phones and Rs 40 lakh extra for their personal fund.
With this increase in their funds, each of the 232 corporators (227 elected and five nominated) will have Rs1 crore under their authority to spend for developmental work in their respective wards. This will cost the civic body around Rs 93 crore extra, the budgetary provision for which was approved in the standing committee meeting on Wednesday. The civic body has also spent Rs 25 lakh to provide android phones to each of the corporators.
“We have decided to allot Rs 40 lakhs to each individual corporators as a part of their ward committee fund. This money should be used for the construction of toilets, gymnasiums, welfare centres etc. The present ward committee fund of Rs 1 crore will stay intact and this will be an addition to it,” said Rahul Shewale, chairman, standing committee.
At present, the entire ward committee receives Rs1 crore as developmental funds, which is divided among the corporators, and each corporators gets Rs60 lakh for his personal fund, to be used for developmental works.
Corporators across party lines have welcomed this decision. Pravin Chheda of Congress said that it would give corporators the chance to do extra work for the people.
Citizen activists, however, have slammed the civic administration for increasing the funds. “They demand hefty amounts for their wards, but it is hardly used for amenities. There is very little transparency in the expenditure of this fund,” said Surindra Khoobchandani, member of H-West federation. He questioned the need for new mobile phones.
Citizen activist and filmmaker Ashok Pandit termed it a double-edged sword. “There are some instances when the money has not been spent properly, but at the same time it is the citizens’ responsibility to keep a tab on the corporator,” he said.