Finally, Chandigarh admn releases ₹50 crore to MC for village development
After financial restrictions were imposed by the Centre in the wake of the pandemic, the administration had even ruled out releasing the funds
With the UT administration finally releasing ₹75 crore to the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC), the development works in the 13 villages, which were recently added to the civic body, will see the light of the day.
Of the ₹75 crore, ₹50 crore have been earmarked for village development funds that were pending for more than a year now.
After financial restrictions were imposed by the Centre in the wake of the pandemic, the administration had even ruled out releasing the funds.But in January this year, after a meeting among UT adviser Manoj Parida, new mayor Ravi Kant Sharma and MC commissioner KK Yadav, the administration had assured ₹90 crore dedicated funds for village development. Initially, it had committed to release ₹30 crore of the ₹90 crore within this financial year.
“We requested the administration to increase the fund share for village development in this fiscal, and it released an additional ₹20 crore. The rest of the ₹40 crore will be released in the coming fiscal,” said mayor Ravikant Sharma.
The MC has been struggling with a paucity of funds, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. The civic body had to acutely depend on the administration’s aid for even paying the salaries of its employees as it failed to achieve its own revenue targets. Against a target of ₹402 crore for 2020-2021, the MC will garner only ₹317 crore in its own receipts.
Funds to help MC tide over own liabilities
The release of ₹75 will also help the MC tide over its own liabilities like salaries: ₹25 crore of the ₹75 crore have been earmarked to meet MC’s committed liabilities under revenue expenditure for the current fiscal (2020-2021).
For the coming fiscal, the administration has approved ₹502 crore grant-in-aid; ₹469 crore is estimated to be generated by the MC on its own receipts like property tax, water tariff, estate, etc. “We will bring additional funds for the city for the coming fiscal too in addition to approved aid,” said Sharma.
Sewage, water projects top priority
There are 22 villages under the jurisdiction of the MC out of which 13—Bahlana, Raipur Khurd, Raipur Kalan, Makhan Majra, Daria, Mauli Jagran, Kishangarh, Kaimbwala, Khuda Ali Sher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur and Dhanas—were transferred in 2019.
The MC General House had approved the proposal of ₹102-crore development works in these villages, which have a combined population of more than 50,000.
The plan prepared by the MC engineering department includes a new road network, laying of stormwater pipes and sewer lines, electrical and horticulture works, supply of water and installation of more than 1,000 tube-wells.
“Our top priority will be upgrading the sewage system and improving drinking water supply systems in these villages. The tender process will be completed within April and we are aiming to start work by April-end,” said Sharma.
With MC elections slated for November-December this year, village development is also politically crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party that has come under severe criticism for the lack of development.