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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Eye on Delhi MCD polls, EDMC announces sops in budget 2017-18 despite empty pocket

Despite a budgetary deficit of over Rs 2,000 crore, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation has announced property tax exemption, English medium schools and reduction in conversion charges. Sanitation staff of the civic body has gone on strike five times in the past over non-payment of salaries.

delhi Updated: Feb 11, 2017 16:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Garbage dumped near Shakarpur during the strike by the sanitation workers of the East Delhi MCD over non-payment of salaries.
Garbage dumped near Shakarpur during the strike by the sanitation workers of the East Delhi MCD over non-payment of salaries. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

New English medium schools, installation of CCTV cameras in various localities, diagnostic and health check-up centres, exempting residential properties measuring up to 41.81 sq metre of tax and reduction of conversion charges were some of the proposals made in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (EDMC) budget for 2017-18.

However, with a current budgetary deficit of over R2,000 crore, the announcements which may require hundreds of crores to implement, may not see the light of the day. Ever since its inception in 2012, when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated, the east civic body has been running in losses.

Not only it has failed to take up new projects and implement programmes announced in respective budgets, the corporation has failed to ensure timely payment of salary to its staff. Sanitation workers and other staff have gone on strikes five times in the past couple of years over non-payment of salaries.

EDMC is yet to pay three months (November- January) salary to employees from Grade A to C and one month salary to sanitation workers.

Read: MCD strike in east Delhi called off, sanitation workers finally agree to lift garbage

It might be the upcoming municipal elections in Delhi which could explain the reason behind the largesse for the people that the civic body has announced on empty pockets. Elections to the three municipal bodies are expected to be held in April. The BJP rules all the three bodies and is trying every trick to make sure it retains its hold on the civic bodies.

The civic bodies are akin to the state government, enjoying almost similar powers, if not more, over 90 per cent of the area in the Capital. They administer the most basic amenities to the people and this is why are politically significant.

EDMC standing committee chairman Jitendra Chaudhary presented the budget on Monday. Besides the property tax exemption, he announced reduction of conversion charges from Rs 192 to Rs 100 per square metre.

The proposed budget will be discussed and finalised in the EDMC House with amendments on February 14.

Chaudhary announced opening two diagnostic centres and development of a health check-up kit. “Two diagnosis centres would be developed on Public Private Partnership mode in east Delhi. In addition to this, collection centres would be developed at each dispensary of the corporation,” said Chaudhary

Read: Cash-strapped EDMC never rose to its feet after trifurcation

“Heart check-up centres would be developed and health check-up kit would be made available at primary health centres and polyclinics of the corporation for diagnosis of heart-related diseases,” he said.

For the development of property over an area between 106 square metre to 500 square metre, the corporation has also proposed to do away with the requirement of an approved building plan.

“Property owners can get the building plan passed from their architect and inform the corporation,” said Chaudhary.

Following the announcement by the North Corporation, EDMC has also proposed to construct at least one toilet block exclusively for women and differently-abled in each ward. Chaudhary also emphasised on provision for mobile toilet in east Delhi to make the area free from open defecation and improve sanitation

Other important proposals included installation of CCTV cameras in all primary schools, opening of two more citizen service bureaus in Khichripur and Karawal Nagar, English medium schools in each of 64 municipal wards, and teaching centres in municipal schools.

Regarding the issue of sanitation, he said an application will be introduced that would include details of all dhalaos and auto-tippers.

Chaudhary blamed the Delhi government for not cooperating with the civic body. “The Delhi government owes the EDMC about R5,000 crore as per the recommendations of 3rd and 4th Delhi Finance Commission,” said Chaudhary.

Announcements Galore:

1. An English medium school in each ward

2. Centres in municipal schools for teaching illiterate parents of students.

3. Science clubs in municipal primary schools.

4. A web application to collate details of municipal school students

5. Recruitment of yoga teachers for mental and physical health of students.

6. Double life insurance for students from Rs 50,000 per student to Rs1,00,000.

7. Selling advertising space on EDMC website

8. Once crane for each zone to clear unused and abandoned cars

9. As per the provision of Master Plan 2021, illegal constructions upto 8th February, 2007 and up to June 1, 2014 in rural areas will be regularised on payment of compounding fees as per the building bye-laws.

10. Open air gyms in municipal parks.

11. Handing over non-productive community centres to private firms

12. Digital process for issuing general trade licences and factory trade licence

13. All EDMC accounts will be digitised

14. LED lights for one lakh street lights and 2,800 semi half mast lights.

15. Rooftop solar panels on buildings such as Swami Dayanand Hospital, Karawal Nagar Poly clinic and zonal office buildings

First Published: Jan 31, 2017 16:16 IST