Chandigarh councillors can now spend 50% funds till September 30
Ward development: Fund-hit MC had not released money this fiscal, will help carry out urgent development works before monsoon.Updated: Jun 06, 2018 16:20 IST
Bringing cheer to councillors demanding release of funds for urgent development work in their wards before the arrival of the monsoon, the cash starved municipal corporation (MC) on Tuesday allowed them to use 50% of the money.
The funds had not been released since the beginning of the fiscal.
Each councillor can spend Rs 40 lakh a year on development work, but several tenders floated for various projects were withdrawn this year after contractors protested against non-payment of pending dues. The issue rocked a recent house meeting too when the councillors sought the commissioner’s intervention in restoring their ward funds, with the amount doubled.
MC chief KK Yadav said that since the MC had got some leverage in finances from the Rs 25 crore house tax collection, all councillors could spend Rs 20 Lakh each till September 30 on urgently required development work in their wards. After estimated costs were figured out tenders for projects could be floated with the condition that contractors were paid on time, he said.
“The next window for the rest of the ward funds will be opened later after reviewing finances,” he said.
‘Minor maintenance works can be taken up’
Former mayor Arun Sood, who had raised the issue in the previous May 24 house meet, said minor maintenance work such as repair of rotaries, broken railings and swings of parks had been held up. “At least this work will resume following the MC chief’s latest decision,” he added.
The MC has 26 elected councillors who together account for development work of about Rs 5.2 crore. With the monsoon round the corner, damaged or missing drain covers and potholed roads need to be fixed.
MC leader of opposition Devinder Babla said Rs 20 Lakh was a small amount for the development work as maintenance of roads alone would cost Rs 50 crore. He urged the MC to press the administration to release its share in UT revenues.
Sources said the MC chief will soon hold a meeting with the UT advisor to transfer road repair work and other capital-intensive projects to the administration because of the funds crunch.
Contractors to get pending payments too
KK Yadav, meanwhile, also said he had issued directions to the public health department to release the pending payments of the contractors engaged in maintenance and operation of public health works, including water.
“The total payment of these contractors is said to be between Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore, which will be cleared by June 15, he said
However, the proposed funds are inadequate considering the pending bills of Rs 45 crore of the contractors who are mainly engaged for road repair and maintenance. Yadav said payments will take time as funds were being arranged from several sources.