Delhi govt paid all dues to MCD, workers still unpaid: Sisodia
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday said the Delhi government owes no dues to the three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled municipal corporations, and added that despite the government disbursing ₹2,588 crore this year, the civic bodies failed to pay salaries to their employees, many of whom are currently either protesting or on a strike demanding their wages.
Addressing a digital press briefing, Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s finance minister, said since chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took charge of the government in Delhi, the administration has not only given MCDs their share of the budget, but also a loan of ₹6,889 crore. “The Delhi government is supposed to provide ₹3,488 crore to the MCDs in the fiscal 2021-22, according to the budget. So far, the Delhi government has given the MCDs 75% of the funds in three instalments, totalling ₹2,588 crore. In addition, the remaining 25% will be disbursed in January. Despite knowing this well, BJP leaders ruling the MCD are crying that the Delhi government did not give money to us. The question that must be asked is, where did all of this money go under the watch of the BJP,” he said.
The BJP rejected the allegations, and said that the money disbursed by the Delhi government was according to the 2012 plan, since when the entitlement for the civic bodies has doubled.
Ever since the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was divided into three separate bodies in 2012, the civic bodies have faced financial crisis. They have not been able to implement several planned projects and found it hard to pay regular salaries to their staff.
Nearly 10,000 staff of the North MCD went on a 24-hour strike on December 13 to protest against the non-payment of salaries for several months, but withdrew it hours later after the corporation officials assured the staff they would clear their dues.
Sisodia said the Delhi government is also yet to deduct the loan amount given to MCDs, whereas the previous governments did so regularly. “The BJP-ruled MCD has taken a loan of ₹6,889 crore that was embezzled by BJP leaders. The money given by the Delhi government as its share for MCD has also been misappropriated, it appears. The BJP leaders are claiming that they do not have enough money to pay their employees, but on the contrary, because of rampant corruption, the MCD is being hollowed out, while BJP leaders are filling their pockets,” he said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said since 2012, according to the fifth Delhi Finance Commission recommendations, the entitlement for MCDs has doubled. “The deputy CM said that the Delhi government has released three-fourths of the municipal funds for the current year 2021-22, but he didn’t disclose that the amount paid was fixed for the year 2012. After that, the third, fourth and fifth Delhi Finance Commission’s recommendations doubled the amount, and the Delhi government, despite accepting the recommendations, has not implemented them,” said Kapoor.
Sisodia also alleged that the BJP is involved in a “parking lot scam worth ₹300-400 crore”.
“Despite promising to build 100 multilevel parking lots, the BJP has only built 14 so far. The BJP had sold 13 parking lots in the North MCD to the private mafia, and had waived crores in property taxes for them. All of these parking lots could generate thousands of crores in revenue each year. However, in order to earn commission, the BJP first sold all of the parking lots at rock-bottom prices and then waived their tax. The BJP-led MCD has taken crores of rupees from markets in the form of conversion fees and parking fees, but is yet to solve the parking problem,” he said.
Rejecting the allegation, Kapoor said, “The fact is that the North MCD has not sold any parking lot-- it is getting them constructed under the PPP (public private partnership ) model. Today, Sisodia too joined the Aam Aadmi Party’s daily diatribe game against MCDs, and despite being the finance minister he chose to lie on the municipal funding issues.”