New Delhi/Bengaluru, Feb 3 (IANS) Demanding a CBI inquiry into “financial irregularities” in Delhi’s three municipal corporations, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday announced a Rs.551-crore loan for payment of salaries to striking workers of two civic bodies.
Employees of Delhi’s three civic bodies – North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation – have been protesting the non-payment of salaries for the past few months, and directing their ire at both the Delhi and central governments for the last eight days.
“We are giving Rs.551 crore to the North and East municipal corporations as loan for payment of salaries of workers,” Kejriwal said in Bengaluru, where he is undergoing treatment for a throat problem at a naturopathy centre.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation will also be paid Rs.142 crore against the stamp duty bill, he said.
Out of Rs.551 crore, the North Delhi MC will receive Rs.314 crore whereas the East Delhi MC will get Rs.237 crore.
“It is with great difficulty that we have been able to find Rs.550 crore for loan. The Delhi government is facing Rs.3,000 crore shortfall in value added tax collection,” Kejriwal said soon after he announced the loan.
“We had to postpone some of our present commitments to the next year to manage this money,” he tweeted.
Kejriwal also demanded a CBI inquiry into “massive scams” in three municipal corporations of Delhi, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. He said his government did not owe any money to the civic bodies, as claimed by them.
The chief minister said that the Aam Aadmi Party government had allocated extra funds to the three civic bodies in the current fiscal compared with the previous year.
“The BJP, which ruled the MCD for 10 years, is responsible for its poor financial situation. Funds given to civic bodies have been diverted. Where has the money given to the MCD gone?” he said.
“It is a classic case of financial mismanagement and corruption. A Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry should be ordered to probe the financial irregularities in the municipal corporations,” Kejriwal demanded.
Kejriwal said a joint front of 19 unions of MCD employees has called for dissolving the civic bodies and bringing them under the Delhi government.
He said doctors of MCD hospitals have requested the Delhi government to take over these hospitals to improve their functioning.
“Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will see the legal viability of the suggestions for bringing the MCD-run hospitals under the Delhi government,” Kejriwal added.
The strike called by civic employees in the national capital over non-payment of their salaries continued for the eighth day on Wednesday as thousands of workers blocked major roads, including east Delhi’s arterial Vikas Marg, leading to traffic jams and inconvenience to commuters.
The striking sanitation workers staged demonstrations even on the National Highways skirting Delhi.
Hospitals and schools run by the civic bodies were also affected as doctors, other hospital staff, teachers and school employees joined the protest.
Protestors dumped garbage on roads and set ablaze tyres at various places. With garbage strewn along roads, an overpowering stench pervaded in most municipal areas.