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MC sitting on emptying coffers

punjab Updated: Sep 19, 2014 08:20 IST
Harshraj Singh

Despite a deficit of at least Rs 3-4 crore every month, the municipal corporation (MC) seems uninterested in taking any initiative to retrieve payments that are stuck in form of pending rents and challans that could fill up the civic body's exchequer.

Against the expenditure of around Rs 44 crore, the civic body's income is nearly Rs 40-41 crore every month. Worse, due to its poor financial condition, the MC has failed to pay pending dues of nearly Rs 90 crore to contractors for various development projects and has also taken loans to pay salaries to its employees.

Also, many city roads and parks are crying for attention in wake of shortage of funds, also because estimates of various projects are awaiting approvals.

It is learnt that due to these circumstances, even a House meeting of MC was not called to avoid giving approval for new projects.

Despite these facts, MC officials are apathetic towards improving MC's financial condition, leading to city's development moving at a snail's pace.

Of the around Rs 44 crore for expenditure, the MC spends Rs 25 crore every month on salaries of the employees, including those on regular and contractual basis.

Besides, MC spends Rs 5 crore for repayment of loans, Rs 10 crore as electricity charges to run streetlights and tubewells and around Rs 4-5 crore on miscellaneous expenditures every month.

As per information collected from the MC, Rs 25-30 crore are generated every month from VAT, a major part of MC's income. Nearly Rs 3 crore is also generated from octroi charges of power every month. Besides, MC collects Rs 7-8 crore from its own sources and recovery.

MC expects to generate more income

MC officials are hopeful of improving civic body's finances as tenders will soon be floated regarding the advertisement policy. It is expected that the MC would generate more than Rs 50 lakh every month from the advertisements.

Additional commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said income would also be generated through sale of some of MC's properties. He claimed that after opening of the underpass on the Lodhi Club Road that connected Ferozepur Road with Pakhowal Road, the shop-cum-offices would be sold to generate income.

Thori said, "Besides, we are waiting for property tax policy after which we can get more income." In July, MC commissioner Pradeep Kumar Agarwal had directed the officials concerned to do recovery of nearly Rs 200 crore from violators who had not paid charges of the water supply, sewerage, house and property taxes.

Agarwal said the teams were recovering approximately Rs 1.25 crore weekly as recovery, against the target of Rs 4 crore.