Corporators want development fund to be reintroduced
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More than a year after the BMC did away with development fund for corporators — wherein all 227 corporators got Rs 1 crore each every year — citing fund crunch, the standing committee is expected to consider a proposal to introduce it again.
The proposal, expected to be tabled at the standing committee meeting on Wednesday, however, seeks to slash the corpus size of the development fund to Rs 50 lakh. The money is expected to be used for ward level works such as constructing toilets, pavements and improving solid waste management. Although corporators currently receive a councillor fund of Rs 60 lakh each, there are various limitations and conditions to use it. The size of councillor fund was hiked from Rs 35 lakh to Rs 60 lakh after corporators cried hoarse over BMC commissioner's decision to scrap the Rs 1-crore development fund.
Former municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar had done away with the development fund citing financial crunch. "He had been of the view that these funds are utilised for trivial things, such as political functions and other non-development based work," said a senior BMC official, who did not wish to be named.
Kumar said: "I had scrapped it in 2011. In fact, I had not approved it in the following year also. My views on this issue are clear, aren't they?"
Corporators, however, are hopeful the proposal will be passed without much debate. "While the councillor fund can only be used for a project amounting to Rs 5 lakh or less in any ward, there is no such limitation in case of the development fund. As all corporators are newly elected, they need funds to fulfil promises made in respective wards. It is unlikely that anyone will reject it," said Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena corporator and standing committee chairman.
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