Kejri dashes workers' hopes, claims MCD dues already cleared by govt

There is no respite in sight for the municipal employess waiting for salaries for the last three months as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed on Monday that the city government had already cleared all the dues of the three municipalities.

Employees of the three corporations have threatened indefinite strike from Wednesday demanding salaries, clearance to arrears and regularisation of the contractual posts. Hundreds of employees, including sanitation workers, teachers, doctors and engineers took out a token march on January 14.

Reminded that mayors have been clamouring for funds, Kejriwal said, “Mayors are political animals, they will say anything.”

“I met the commissioners of all three MCDs a couple of days ago and asked them to take whatever amount they want from the city government. They gave me in writing that the city government does not owe any money to corporations,” said Kejriwal.

The AAP government, however, said the commissioners requested that corporations be given Municipal Reform Fund on basis of improvements made, as current eligibility criteria for MRF is stringent. The commissioner of the North Delhi Municipal Commission also mentioned that the recommendations of the Fourth Finance Commission may also be implemented by the government.

Though the city government claimed that it has given the due funds to municipal corporations till December this financial year, the civic agencies said they have not been received grants under the MRFs which amounts to Rs 374 crore.

“Cash-strapped corporations should be given the Municipal Reform Fund so that they can tide over financial crunch. That was the logic behind setting 1.5 per cent share of the corporations in the city government’s tax as Municipal Reform Fund, not the way around,” said a senior official with the North Corporation.

The Aam Aadmi Party government agreed that there is a provision of Rs 374 crore in the proposed revised estimate as MRF for three municipal corporations. However, the release of this amount is linked with the financial performance of local bodies, it added.

“The government gives it as an incentive to them (municipal corporations) due to improvement in their financial position. All corporations, except South Delhi Municipal Corporation, are in deficit and are not prima facie eligible to get the incentive,” it said in a statement.

The municipal commissioners said the corporations have not received any grant under MRF for the last two years.

The corporations get funds from the city government in three instalments in a financial year: April to June, July to December and January to March.
“The AAP government has cleared the dues of North and East Corporations till December,” the official said.

On January 15, the city government had said Rs 668 crore, which is 80 per cent of the total Rs 8,30.41 crore, has been released to SDMC.

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