SDMC far from achieving targets, alleges LoP Suri
Despite tall claims to improve civic services as well as improve the health of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) through revenue generation from all possible fronts, the agency is far away from its target, said Leader of Opposition (LoP) Farhad Suri in his Budget speech on Tuesday.
The opposition leader claimed that neither were the earlier announced projects completed nor was a mechanism developed to ensure better civic amenities in South Delhi areas as announced by the Corporation Commissioner and the ruling BJP during their consecutive Budget presentations and now when elections are round the corner, again promises are being made on the similar lines.
The Commissioner, in his speech, had claimed that 63 toilet blocks are under-construction and besides this, 74 community toilets are being improved but failed to talk about the fixed target in this regard and against it how much has been achieved. The SDMC has 116 car parking sites, out of which 88 are old and 28 have been recently handed over by the DDA to the SDMC. Currently, 80 car parking sites are being run but as many as 36 sites have not yet been allotted due to which the Corporation is facing losses. What is more surprising is that the SDMC had set a target of Rs 100 crore of revenue generation for the current financial year but has reduced it to Rs 42 crore in the Revised Budget Estimate (RBE).
The project to convert 1 lakh 98 thousand street lights to LED has certain anomalies as the figure seems to be on the lower side whereas, the actual figure is much higher. Dark sports identified earlier need to be illuminated by installing lights at the earliest. Certain fancy lights were installed on various roads during the Commonwealth Games. It seems that no policy to repair these lights was made.
The proposal to go solar in the SDMC building seems to be a good thought but that too has not been completed owing to lack of funds. There is a proposal to construct 596 classrooms, 181 toilet blocks, 31 halls, 92 science rooms, computer rooms, sports rooms in the current year but original the target is yet to be disclosed.
Highlighting inefficiency of the Corporation, the LoP said that though the civic body has hiked taxes in different slabs in the last few years and expanded area of tax collections, the revenue is declining. Property tax as a source of revenue is not being utilised fully. Only 30 to 35 per cent properties are in the tax net while no measure is being initiated to bring them in the ambit of property tax.
The Commissioner, in his Budget estimate earlier, had reduced the target for property tax from Rs 865 crore to Rs 775 crore. In the RBE 2016-17, the proposed income in this head for BE 2017-18 has been projected at Rs 742.50 crore. As far as Transfer Duty is concerned, collections were the highest in 2014-15 (Rs 624.04 crore) which came down to Rs 577.97 crore in 2015-16. The target for the current year was fixed at Rs 600 crore and the same has been maintained in the RBE 2016-17 which is not an impressive figure.