HC asks Centre, Delhi govt, MCDs to meet over fiscal issues faced by civic bodies

new delhi: After months of a tussle between the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi government over the disbursement of funds to the civic body, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre, Delhi government and representatives of all three municipal corporations in the Capital to convene a meeting and find a solution to the financial difficulties being faced by the three civic bodies here.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said a committee formed of representatives from Centre, Delhi government and the civic bodies can look into the financial aspects of the corporations as well as grievances of the Delhi government, which claimed it has not yet received over Rs 10,000 crore as its share of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection from the Central government.

"We expect that this meeting shall be convened at the earliest," the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on September 8.

The order came on an application moved by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North MCD) which has alleged that Rs 90.60 crore payable as grant-in-aid under the sanitation/urban development head, for the first quarter ending June 30, has not been released yet and Rs 181 crore under the same head for the second quarter is also due.

The North MCD has said that the funding was meant for payment of salaries of ''safai karamchaaris'' and sanitation activities.

The application was filed in a pending writ petition by one Rahul Birla seeking directions to the Delhi government and the municipal corporations to pay the salaries with arrears of sanitation workers employed by them.

In its application, the north Delhi civic body has said that expenditure towards the salary till May 2020, sanitation services and providing PPE kits, gloves, masks, sanitisers to the workers had been incurred by the corporation from its own internal resources, in the absence of any amount being released by the Delhi government.

However, in the legal tussle between the civic body and the Delhi government, the latter has consistently maintained in court that it has been releasing amounts due to the corporation regularly. In several instances, the high court had also questioned why the North MCD was claiming it was unable to pay salaries of doctors and other staff despite the Delhi government having released

the funds.

Moreover, with the financial difficulties that the North MCD has claimed to be in, the civic body has also decided to hike municipal taxes in a bid to make up for lost revenues.

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