'Delhi MCDs Used Parking, Conversion Charges To Pay Staff Salary'
In Delhi, the commissioners of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) recently appeared before a Special Committee of Delhi Assembly. The funds collected by these three municipal bodies, in the name of conversion and parking charges, were being diverted for employee-related expenditure – salaries, arrears, bonuses, among others.
In the case of the NDMC, Rs 1,642.55 crore out of the Rs 1,772.13 crore, collected between 2006-17, was used as 'employee-related expenditure'. In the case of EDMC, Rs 18.16 crore out of the Rs 49.95 crore, collected between 2012-17, was used as salaries while it was only Rs 8.38 crore which was used for the development of parking sites. In short, Rs 2,000 crore funds allocated have not been done justice.
These municipal authorities collect conversion charges from shops on the basis of its nature. For instance, properties that are being mixed-use would be penalised if these had not been previously registered. The penalties or fees so charged go into the corporation's funds and are utilised for the development or infrastructure-related work. Parking charges, too, go into development. To see such funds underutilised means much harm.
On the other hand, the sealing drive is catching speed. For unauthorised construction and misuse, 76 properties have been pulled up so far. These are the ones that had flouted construction norms as directed by a monitoring committee appointed by the Supreme Court. In north Delhi, maximum units were sealed in Old Rajinder Nagar. In a fresh news, expecting bypolls soon, the NDMC has scrapped new taxes such as betterment and professional taxes. Even the proposed increase in property taxes have also been scrapped.
Ahead of the bypolls, the NDMC is, however, planning to propose night parking charges for buses parked on public land, banquet halls to pay for parking on public land based on bookings of events - all of this in order to beef up the coffers. However, much needs to be done to ensure that these corporation use these funds constructively.
With inputs from Housing News