2017: A mixed bag of wins, fails for MCG
Works such as reviving Bandhwari plant, increasing property tax collections overshadowed by scams; 2018 offers hope of better amenities as civic body takes over Huda sectorsgurgaon Updated: Dec 28, 2017 23:43 IST
The year 2017 saw the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) complete the process of taking over the maintenance of most of city’s privately developed colonies that are plagued by potholed roads, inadequate water supply, unkempt green belts, poor drainage system and waterlogging. In the coming year, the civic body is expected to complete this process. For residents, this meant better civic amenities for the first time in decades.
For residents living in sectors 42, 51, 52, 57, 27, 28, 33 and 47—areas transferred to MCG from cash-strapped Huda, services improved.
Tina Khanna, a resident of sector 28 said, “Roads outside the condominium were in a bad condition and despite repeated complaints, little action was taken. I can see that since the MCG took over, certain stretches has been carpeted,”
Next year, the MCG is expected to take over private colonies, including DLF phases 1, 2 and 3, Sushant Lok Phase-1, Palam Vihar, Suncity, South City 1-2. The civic body is also expected to make advancements in the transfer of Malibu Towne, Ardee City and Tatvam Villas.
Most of these were built in the 1980’s by private developers, who started struggling to deliver even basic civic amenities. Residents hope the MCG will change this.
“The colonies were not equipped to handle the surge in number of settlers after MNCs formed their base here; basic amenities took a major hit. Since then we have been living on scant resources. We hope the MCG’s machinery is able to change this,” Shradha Kumar, a resident of DLF Phase 3, said.
The transfer, however, requires the developer to pay the civic body for wiping its spilt milk.
After the transfer, the developer will have to either pay MCG the sum required for overhauling the requisite amenities or fix them itself in six months.
Probably anticipating the need for more money to spruce up the city, the MCG has been making an extra effort to fill its coffers with property tax.
Against a collection of ₹121 crore last year, they have netted ₹441 crore so far this year. With a 10% rebate on property tax till December 31, the MCG is likely to collect around ₹500 crore in tax when the clock strikes 12 on Sunday.
The MCG has been backing its rebate schemes with stringent measures, such as on sealing and auctioning properties of tax defaulters.
In the last two months, the MCG has auctioned 10 properties of tax defaulters and recover its dues, the first such instance in Haryana.
The MCG was on a roll in 2017 even though it may be the last year when it is city’s main civic body as the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is expected to take over a large share of its responsibilities next year.
MCG Commissioner V Umashankar, who is also serving the role of the additional chief executive officer of GMDA, however said, “The MCG will continue to function as it is, independent of GMDA’s formation.”
”It has been a fairly decent year in terms of project constructions. In the coming year, the pattern shall continue. Provided it gets the requisite clearance, the C&D plant shall see the light of the day. Additionally, the work on the streetlight project will commence next year. The MCG will continue to play a vital role in civic matters of the city and execute front-end services after GMDA’s formation,” Umashankar said.
The MCG took steps to initiate revival of the Bandhwari waste treatment plant. Since June 2013, more than 1,000 tonnes of waste from Gurgaon and Faridabad has been continuously dumped here. This waste lay untreated leading to leachate seeping out and contaminating the groundwater table.
On November 19, urban local bodies (ULB) department officials said they will restart the plant by June 2019 and the plant will treat over 25 lakh tonnes of waste in five years. The site will be developed as a waste-to-energy plant which will produce 10 MW of electricity daily.
For residents, concerned about the environmental hazards, the announcement came as a big relief.
“I feared the Bandhwari plant will have a similar fate as the Ghazipur waste plant in New Delhi, where there was a significant delay in starting the WTE. I am hoping that the plant is revived in the stipulated time,” Mihir Kohli, a resident of DLF-5, said.
However, the year was not all smooth sailing for the MCG whose officials faced multiple allegations of scams.
MCG commissioner V Umashankar had to submit a report to the ULB minister Kavita Jain after a scam of 200 commercial properties being calculated as residential properties came to light.
Since commercial properties have a higher tax slab than residential areas, the same could have led to several crores of losses in property tax collection.
The Haryana Lokayukta also issued a notice to the MCG for its purchase of 600 bicycles priced at ₹33.67 lakh in August 2014 for a function. The MCG could not account for 172 bicycles from the original purchase, costing the body nearly ₹10 lakh.
A look at the work done
HUDA sector transfer
Sectors transferred this year: 42, 51, 52, 57, 27, 28, 33 and 47
Expected date of completion: March 2018 for all HUDA sectors, barring 29 and 53
The transfer will improve upkeep of civic facilities
Defunct since: June 2013
Expected date of restart: June 2019
Investment for restarting: ₹430 crore
The waste treatment plant will become a waste-to-energy plant
Collection in 2017: ₹ 433 crore (till Dec 27)
Collection in 2016: ₹177.4 crore.
Properties auctioned: 10 (till Dec 28)
Dues recovered: ₹7.75 crore