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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Barnala MC crippled by paucity of funds

Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Barnala, February 26, 2013
First Published: 20:37 IST(26/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:38 IST(26/2/2013)

Though the state government and its local body department have always promised development, projects under the jurisdiction of the Barnala municipal council (MC) have come to a grinding halt owing to the poor fiscal state of the civic body.

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The state government has failed to provide any funds for development in the past four years.

As per the information available, the civic body had received a municipality fund of Rs1.8 crore in December 2008.

Presently, the civic body has no other means of revenue generation, but for the monthly Rs. 1 crore as value added tax (VAT).

A senior functionary of the municipal council, who wanted to remain unnamed, said that they had somehow managed to give salaries to the employees (nearly 60 lakh) and paid the electricity bill of Rs. 25 lakh per month with the VAT collection.

“Many a time it has become difficult to give salaries on time; retired employees have been asked to wait for their dues and payments,” said the MC official.

“Since 2008, no funds have been provided by the state government. In 2010, the MC had to sell its land to generate some resources,” the official said.

Paucity of funds has halted work on new sewerage and drainage systems, and stalled the construction of roads.

As a result, big potholes have developed on the Bajakhana road, Moga road and the Kachehri chowk in the past year.

Sources said that MC had failed even to pay the contractors, who were allotted different tenders to carry out projects; they have moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in order to get their dues.

MC president Paramjit Singh Dhillon said he was aware of the dire situation and had written to the local body department for funds at the earliest.

“It is very difficult to generate sufficient funds by collecting house tax, water and sewerage tax, VAT and other taxes to carry out developmental works and give salaries to the employees,” he said.

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