Fresh row between govt, corporations
North corporation mayor Jai Prakash along with South corporation mayor Anamika Mithilesh and East Delhi mayor Nirmal Jain sat outside the main gate of CM’s residence from 11.30am till 8.30pm.Updated: Oct 27, 2020, 01:54 IST
The Delhi government on Monday said that it is the Centre that owes money to the municipal bodies and not the AAP dispensation as the mayors of three corporations squatted outside the chief minister’s house to demand Rs 13,500 crore for paying salaries to striking doctors and other medical staff.
North corporation mayor Jai Prakash along with South corporation mayor Anamika Mithilesh and East Delhi mayor Nirmal Jain sat outside the main gate of CM’s residence from 11.30am till 8.30pm. The mayors called off the protest in the evening after health minister Satyendar Jain, who earlier in the day said that the mayors didn’t turn up for a meeting called by him at 2pm, came down to meet them outside the CM’s house.
Hundreds of doctors from North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals and dispensaries are on a strike, protesting over non-payment of salaries for three months.
Asserting that the mayors were politicising the issue, Jain said the BJP should resign and hand over the three civic bodies to the Delhi government to resolve all these issues. “I met the three mayors on Monday evening and told them that the central government is supposed to give ₹12,000 crore to the MCDs. The central government is supposed to give Rs 488 per resident as a grant to the MCDs but they have not paid this money for years,” he told reporters.
“I have requested them to urge the central government to pay this money. But they have not shown any interest in this suggestion which clearly shows that the BJP ruled MCD just wants to politicise the issue. I have also raised the issue of corruption in the BJP-ruled MCDs but they have rejected the claims. Everybody is aware of the corruption in MCD but they [the mayors] are silent on this,” he said.
“In Delhi, to build a new house a person needs to pay lakhs of rupees to the MCDs. Today the MCDs are unable to pay the doctors and nurses along with other employees because of this corruption. I will again say that if they are unable to run the MCDs then the BJP must resign and we will run the MCDs with the same budget,” Jain said, adding that they would run the civic bodies openly and effectively while paying the salaries of the “heroes” on time.
Earlier, North Delhi mayor Jai Prakash said, “We have been sitting outside the CM’s residence for over seven hours and they have not contacted us. Satyendar Jain left a message on Twitter. Is this how the government functions? This just shows their seriousness about the issue.”
According to the mayors, the government owes ₹3,000 crore to the East corporation, ₹4,000 crore to the South corporation and ₹6,500 crore to North Corporation. In the current financial year, the government has not released the entire payment till the second quarter, they alleged.
Nirmal Jain and Mithilesh said, “How do they expect us to pay salaries to our employees. With the implementation of 7th pay commission, our expenditures have increased and the Delhi government is not releasing funds.”
Accusing the BJP of politicising the issue, the AAP alleged that the Centre owes the municipal corporations ₹12,000 crore but the BJP leaders are not demanding the Centre to release the funds.
Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said as per the 14th finance commission report, the Centre has to provide grants to the municipal corporations. “In the last 10 years, the Centre should pay the civic bodies in Delhi around ₹12,000 crore…The Delhi CM and the finance minister have repeatedly written to the Centre asking them to release this fund. The Delhi BJP leaders have never asked the Centre to release this fund. We demand that this should be released immediately,” said Pathak.
While Pathak urged Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to intervene and release the funds, the health minister said that the government will support the mayors if they go and ask the centre for pending funds.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said this is just a tactic by the AAP to shrug off its responsibility and indulge in blame game. He said that the ₹13,500 crore demand is as per the recommendations of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Delhi Finance Commission.
Gupta said the government is doing all this at a time when the city is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government has a ₹60,000 crore budget and it is not paying the funds which it is supposed to pay as per the finance commission recommendations. They are only inconveniencing the people of Delhi. It has not even paid ₹9 crore spent by the North corporation to make Hindu Rao a Covid-only facility. They are doing politics in this hour of crisis.”