Corporators from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai, one of the richest municipal bodies in the country, arrived here on Saturday to review the functioning of the cash-strapped Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) and some of the projects being run by it. Their focus, however, remained on the much-hyped Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), the work of which is moving at a snail’s pace.
The BMC corporators took stock of various developmental projects mooted for Amritsar, including solid waste management project and ambitious Personal Rapid Transit System (PRTS), which has been shelved.
The BMC corporators were also shown a presentation on the ongoing BRTS project. Even as March 31 is the deadline for the completion of the BRTS project, only 40% work of it has been completed so far.
In the absence of funds — revenue grants by the state government and poor revenue collection by the MC revenue department — a number of development projects mooted for the city are yet to see the light of day.
“The corporators are on an official tour to the holy city to study the functioning of the MC. Besides Amritsar, they have visited Chandigarh and some other municipal bodies in Punjab,” said Jaswinder Singh, superintending engineer, operation and maintenance cell, MC, who was present at the meeting.
Mayor, commissioner not aware of visit
Interestingly, majority of the officials, including municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal and mayor Bakshi Ram Arora, were not aware of the BMC corporators’ visit to the MC. While Sabharwal is in Delhi for a meeting relating to ‘Smart City’ project, mayor Bakshi Ram Arora said that he had not been informed. “At present, I am out of the town, but officials should have informed me about the visit,” he said.
MC misses revenue collection targets
The MC’s revenue generating departments are not serious about collecting various taxes is evident from the fact that in the past couple of years they have been unable to meet their annual targets.
Though the water supply department has been assigned an annual target of `22 crore for the current financial year, it barely collected Rs 11 crore.
Similarly, the estate office of the MC got a target of rs 3 crore and it fell short of collecting `50 lakh thus far, while the licensing department is quite close to achieve its target of `2 crore, though it has yet to collect Rs 7 lakh.