Nagpur: The cash-starved Nagpur Municipal (NMC) Corporation has good news. The State Government has approved the proposal of the civic body to release Rs 150 crore out of Rs 325 crore as special grants in this month for completing the ongoing developmental works in the Orange City. The fund will be received by NMC through district administration. The government is likely to release remaining funds before Diwali festival.
The dent in NMC coffers could be gauged from the fact that the September salary of employees has still not been disbursed. Dussehra festival is round the corner and Deepawali is next month. The employees could face hardships if they are deprived of salaries for consecutive two months.
Faced with the horrible financial condition, the Chairman of Standing Committee Virendra Kukreja was himself in Mumbai on Tuesday and urged the Chief Minister to clear the proposal of civic body for release of Rs 325 crore special funds. Kukreja also urged Fadnavis to hike the monthly GST grant by Rs 30-35 crore.
Contractors are also agitating against the local body demanding their pending dues. The bills of contractors have not been cleared from March 2018. The amount of pending bills has reached around Rs 300 crore. As a result, the contractors have been facing enormous difficulties in running their own affairs. The NMC Contractors Welfare Association had yesterday met Additional Municipal Commissioner and apprised him about the pending bills. But the meeting failed to resolve the deadlock. Now, the contractors are planning to stage “havan” agitation to highlight their plight. The committed expenditure of the local body over salary, pension grants, electricity, raw water bill, payment to Orange City Water, petrol, diesel, telephone bills, security, repayment of loan, garbage lifting, Government’s cess, etc is around Rs 92 crore. Presently, it is very difficult for NMC to maintain balance between developmental works and committed expenditure. This special grant may give some relief to office bearers of the civic body.
The State Government has warned NMC to provide land on top priority to Central and State Government’s projects otherwise their grants will be stopped. The State Government in its latest directions expressed deep concerned over non-cooperation of the local bodies in providing lands for projects like Water Treatment Plant, Sewage Treatment Plant, Pumping Stations and others.
The civic body will have to build cement roads on its own expenses. The State Government will release funds only after completion of the roads. According to Finance Department of NMC, the Standing Committee has exhausted all its funds allotted for different heads in 2018-19 Budget. 75 percent of special funds of Mayor and Deputy Mayor too have been spent. But still, the NMC administration is continuing with tenders, quotations and work orders.