Can’t disburse BMC funds through state govt, MVA tells Chahal
According to the former corporators, Chahal has issued a circular that they have to make a requisition and get an NOC from either guardian ministers Deepak Kesarkar and M P Lodha or their local MLA or MP, and only then will the BMC release those funds
Mumbai: A delegation of former corporators from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) party met administrator and civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal on Monday to request him to give powers to the assistant commissioners of 24 administrative wards to distribute civic funds instead of allowing guardian ministers, local MLAs and MPs to do this.
According to the former corporators, Chahal has issued a circular that they have to make a requisition and get an NOC from either guardian ministers Deepak Kesarkar and M P Lodha or their local MLA or MP, and only then will the BMC release those funds. This new diktat has irked the opposition.
Former Shiv Sena mayor from Uddhav Thackeray’s faction Vishwanath Mahadeshwar addressed the media after meeting Chahal. “Giving powers to guardian ministers to utilise BMC funds is a discriminatory practice,” he said. “Our contention is that regardless of the ward, there should be equal distribution of funds. We met the civic chief and told him that the issue of funds does not come under the purview of guardian ministers. Only Chahal as municipal chief and administrator has the right to BMC funds. With this new practice, he is going against the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Constitution, and we strongly oppose it.”
Former NCP corporator Rakhi Jadhav said the move was “very objectionable”. “The guardian minister or the local MLA will not give permission to us because we have been fighting against them in the corporation,” she said. “They are opportunists and will take this as an opportunity to deny us permissions for funds.”
Jadhav said that as a corporator for the last 15 years, she was aware of the workings of the corporation. “I plan to meet the leader of the Opposition Ajit Pawar on Tuesday morning,” she said. “If he raises this in the assembly, there will some kind of redressal.”
Sachin Padwal, former corporator from the Thackeray faction, said the MVA would take up the issue in the assembly on Tuesday, and as a last recourse would also move the Bombay high court. “We don’t want the BMC to start this new tradition of utilising funds via the guardian minister who either belongs to the Shinde faction or BJP,” he said. “It is injustice not only to us but also citizens as works will be denied in certain areas. Chahal said he will ask the CM and let us know.”
Former Congress corporator Sufiyan Vanu, who was also a part of the delegation, said that according to BMC rules Chahal, as the municipal commissioner and administrator, was the only person who had the right to distribute BMC funds. “Chahal can’t divert this right to any guardian minister,” he said. “The District Planning and Development Council funds, which are meant for guardian ministers, should be coming to the BMC, but here the civic body is diverting its funds to the state government.”
Vanu said that this was the first time in the history of the corporation that MLAs, MPs and guardian ministers were getting BMC funds. “Ours is a single-point agenda—that since Chahal is the administrator, he has to distribute funds on his own in the absence of a general body instead of giving them to guardian ministers. Kesarkar is from Ratnagiri and doesn’t even know Mumbai.”