Recovery of Grap fines at 16%, officials to face the heat
Despite levying fines for violations of the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) in the city, not a single rupee has been deposited with the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), the nodal authority, in over a month, as per the data available with the civic body. Since last October, 924 challans were issued by the civic body’s officials for Grap violations, amounting to around ₹92.42 lakh, but the recovery, so far, remains at ₹14.80 lakh, at 16%.
This is despite the MCG commissioner, Vinay Pratap Singh, directing officials in an official order on February 16, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, to recover at least 50% of the total Grap challan amount by April 15, failing which the same would be deducted from their salaries.
“There is no point for our officials to continue with the practice of issuing challans and have a virtually non-existent recovery after that. Hence, I had issued this order two weeks ago. Officials have just over six weeks to rectify this or else, we will start recovering it from their monthly salaries until the amount is recovered,” said Singh. He said that the order was also aimed at bringing about a change in the way MCG officials were operating.
In his order, Singh had also stated that the officials concerned will not be eligible for a no-objection certificate from the MCG for their transfer or deputation, until the fine amount is recovered.
Practices such as waste burning, uncovered construction materials, illegal dumping of construction and demolition (C&D) waste, littering, and vehicles carrying uncovered construction materials, which are rampant in Gurugram, are the main Grap violations.
MCG officials privy to the matter said that their rules do not allow for the collection of fines on the spot.
“As per the provisions of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act, a municipal corporation official can only issue a challan on the spot. The violator has to deposit the challan fines with the MCG’s citizen facilitation centres (CFCs). Very few violators, however, end up depositing the same,” an MCG official familiar with the issue said.
The official said that the MCG has the power to issue several notices to the violator and also issue an FIR in the matter, if the person continues not to pay the penalty. However, the process is time consuming.
“There is no point for the MCG to keep issuing fines and have no recovery to show. Violators will stop taking them seriously. This has been the case for several RWAs in the city as well, who have continued with Grap violations, as they have only received challans from the MCG, but are yet to deposit any penalty fee to them,” said Vaishali Rana Chandra, a city-based environmentalist.
Chandra said that instead of focusing on the number of challans, the MCG should change its strategy and concentrate on recovering fines, as it will have a greater impact on the reduction of Grap violations.
Data obtained from the MCG shows that between October 15, 2020, and January 31, 2021, the MCG had issued 736 challans, amounting to ₹82.20 lakh for Grap violations. However, the recovery amount stood at ₹14.80 lakh, merely 17% of the total. Between February 1 and March 1, the MCG had issued 188 new challans, but has not recovered the fine amount.
Grap measures will continue to be implemented until March 15.