LG office says proposal for granting financial power to MCD commissioner pending with UD Ministry; AAP hits back

The AAP having majority in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House, hit back alleging the LG wanted all the powers of the civic body to be given to the commissioner who works under him so that he could exercise his will.
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 17:14 IST
Last Updated : 27 April 2024, 17:14 IST

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New Delhi: The AAP government in Delhi and its Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj have been sitting for nearly seven months over a proposal to temporarily enhance financial powers of the MCD commissioner even as the courts have been forced to take up matters related to the civic body's works like education, health and garbage disposal, Delhi LG secretariat charged in a statement on Saturday.

The AAP having majority in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House, hit back alleging the LG wanted all the powers of the civic body to be given to the commissioner who works under him so that he could exercise his will.

The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the city government over the issue of non-supply of books to the children studying in the MCD schools and said the continuation of Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister even after his arrest puts political interest over national interest.

The court said the Delhi government was 'interested in appropriation of power'.

Lt Governor V K Saxena on March 6 this year, invoking rule 19(5) of ToBR 1993, had recalled the file pertaining to delegation of increased financial powers (from present Rs 5 crore to Rs 25 crore) to the commissioner, pending with the UD minister since October 2023, it claimed.

This was done by the LG after learning that works of the MCD, including disposal of garbage at landfill sites, lack of budget for MCD schools and hospitals, was affected due to the non-constitution of standing committee of the corporation.

"However, the Minister instead of sending the file within 3 days as stipulated by Rule 19(5), chose to sit over the file and continues to do so," alleged the LG secretariat.

It alleged that the Delhi government 'misled' the High Court on Friday last, saying the file recalled by the LG was not cleared as Chief Minister Kejriwal was in jail.

"But the fact remains that the file is still pending with Saurabh Bhardwaj since October 9, 2023, and was never sent to the Chief Minister, who was taken into custody only on March 21, 2024," alleged the statement.

Three reminders were sent to the Urban Development (UD) minister on March 15, March 18 and April 2 but he did not send the file to the LG through the chief minister, it claimed further.

At present, the MCD commissioner is vested with financial power of Rs 5 crore only. All projects above Rs 5 crores are essentially to be cleared by the Standing Committee of the civic body that has not been formed since civic body was elected one and half year ago.

The matter related to formation of the standing committee, highest decision-making body of the MCD, is pending with the Supreme Court.

"The BJP people were illegally appointed as aldermen by the LG as a result of which the standing committee could not be formed. The LG should answer why the MCD commissioner did not bring any proposal worth more than Rs 5 crore before the House of the civic body since January till date," the AAP alleged in a statement.

The MCD in January itself passed a resolution to bring all the powers of the standing committee under the House of the civic body but the LG wants to 'paralyse' it, charged the AAP.

Enhancing financial power of the commissioner related to works worth over Rs 5 crore will leave him with no accountability towards the elected House of the civic body, it stated.

The MCD, due to its works affected because of non existence of the standing committee, moved a proposal for enhancing financial powers of the municipal commissioner on September 18, 2023 to the Urban Development department of the Delhi government.

This was proposed as a temporary measure till the standing committee was constituted.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva hit back saying Chief Minister Kejriwal and Bharadwaj should resign after the Delhi High Court's remarks on Friday.

"It is shameful for the government that the Court comparing the statements related to the conditions of schools by the UD minister with crocodile tears," he said.

The AAP alleged that the LG wanted the BJP to run the civic body despite losing the MCD elections in 2022.

Published 27 April 2024, 17:14 IST

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