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`MCD schemes a failure'

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, JAN. 5. Initiating the debate on the annual budget of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Leader of the Opposition in the MCD Standing Committee, Vijender Kumar Gupta, today alleged that the ruling Congress had failed to keep its promises.

Referring to the budget presentation of the Municipal Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, on December 9, Mr. Gupta alleged that the budget estimates and proposals were impractical and gave an impression that it was formulated in air-conditioned chambers.

He alleged that the MCD had failed in e-governance, double-entry system, revenue collection, mid-day meal, primary health care facilities and sanitation. Several promises made by the Standing Committee Chairman, Mukesh Goel, including `no' new taxes, augmentation of revenue resources and a people-friendly administration were forgotten soon after last years budget. Despite tall claims, toll tax posts have still not been computerised, he alleged.

Claiming that the per capita expenditure had declined substantially during the Congress regime compared with the previous Bharatiya Janata Party rule, he termed the ambitious e-governance programmes as a flop show as it had failed to meet the aspirations of the people. Despite computerisation, booking of parks is still controlled by the tent mafia, people are facing difficulties in getting birth and death certificates and long queues could be seen outside citizens services bureaus.

Stating that the Commissioner had proposed an increase of a whopping 60.41 per cent in the annual budget for the year 2004-05, Mr. Gupta claimed that it was `impossible' to achieve this target. "This is merely fictitious figure to balance the budget," he said.

Against all basic norms, Delhi Government has included the reimbursement amount for maintenance of 44 resettlement colonies in global share, and no such provision had been made for 29 other such colonies. Similarly, the amount spent on mid-day meal had been included in the global share," he said. While reduction in transfer duty resulted in a revenue loss of Rs. 80 crores, the Delhi Government's share increased by the same amount, he claimed.Appreciating the introduction of people-friendly Unit Area System of house tax collection, Mr. Gupta, however, alleged that due to nepotism in categorisation of colonies and undue favour given to various categories of property holders, the interest of the senior officers, political leaders and rich were secured, while the poor were neglected. He claimed that the MCD house tax collection would fall far below its target of Rs. 1,070 crores, badly affecting developmental works in the city.

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