Lockdown hits Mohali MC, left with funds to pay just 3-month salaries
As Mohali’s municipal commissioner Kamal Kumar Garg took charge as its administrator on Monday, he faces a herculean task. Owing to a cash crunch, the MC has only ₹22 crore in its kitty, just enough to pay salaries of employees for the next three months.
The nationwide lockdown has made the problem worse, as MC cannot collect dues and taxes which could have generated funds for the civic body.
With Mohali MC’s five-year term getting over on April 26, powers will be vested with new MC commissioner Kamal Kumar Garg from Monday. The posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor have been dissolved.
Amid scarce funds, more than 200 tenders of development works worth ₹30 crore have not been allotted in the past six months. The works pertain to development of parks, laying of paver blocks, foot paths, re-carpeting of roads and installing gyms in parks.
Even in December last year, after failing to spend ₹9 crore allocated under various heads, Mohali MC re-appropriated the budget to shift the surplus funds to account heads with a deficit.
MC Commissioner of Mohali, Kamal Kishore said, “We are just left with ₹22 crore with which we can only pay employees’ salaries for three months. We have asked the state government for funds to carry out some development works. Moreover, the lockdown has put an end to activities such as collecting property tax, water bills, advertisement fees and more, which has further aggravated the financial issue, he said.
Every month, the civic body spends ₹5 crore on paying salaries, power bills, fuel charges and private agency maintaining cleanliness in city.
On the other hand, members of all 65 residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) of Mohali are sour with the MC not paying for maintenance of parks. CL Garg, the president of confederation of Greater Mohali RWAs, apex body of 65 RWAs, said, “We have been paying gardeners from our own pockets for the past three months. But the MC has assured it will clear the dues,” he said.
Even Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has failed to pay Rs 191 crore to the municipal corporation (MC) of Mohali. As per an agreement signed in 2017, GMADA was to pay ₹200 crore every year to MC for maintenance of 540 parks, roads and streetlights. However, in the past three years, it has only paid ₹9 crore to the civic body.