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Mayors Stage Dharna Outside Delhi CM's Residence Over Fund Crunch; AAP, BJP Trade Charges

Delhi Minister Satender Jain called on the mayors sitting on Dharna outside Chief Minister's residence.

Delhi Minister Satender Jain called on the mayors sitting on Dharna outside Chief Minister's residence.

The three mayors — Jai Prakash (North Delhi), Anamika (South Delhi) and Nirmal Jain (East Delhi) — jointly claimed that Rs 13,000 crore in total was due to the three corporations from the Delhi government.

Mayors of the three BJP-ruled municipal corporations on Monday staged a sit-in right outside the Delhi chief minister's residence for nearly nine hours over non-payment of funds which, they claimed, was due to the civic bodies, even as the saffron party and the AAP accused each other of doing politics over the issue. Senior doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals went on a day-long casual leave en masse on Monday later and decided to go on an indefinite strike from October 27 as the crisis over pending salaries of medics of civic-run facilities deepened with no resolution in sight.

The three mayors — Jai Prakash (North Delhi), Anamika (South Delhi) and Nirmal Jain (East Delhi) — jointly claimed that Rs 13,000 crore in total was due to the three corporations from the Delhi government. They sought a meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the issue and sat on dharna around 11.30 am when they did not get an appointment. The mayors called off their dharna at 8.30 pm after Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain met them.

In a statement, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation said the urban development minister assured the mayors of clearing pending dues in 10 days and thereafter, they called off their dharna. Jain, however, claimed the municipal corporations were levelling baseless allegations against the Delhi government. They were putting up hoardings around the city which proves there was no dearth of funds with BJP-run civic bodies.

He asked the civic bodies to function properly and pay salaries on time or hand over the responsibility to the Delhi government for effective operations. Later, Jain also issued a statement, saying the Central government was supposed to give Rs 12,000 crore to the municipal corporations in Delhi. "The Centre is supposed to give Rs 488 per individual as a grant to the MCDs. But they have not paid this money for years. Delhi government also has an outstanding loan of Rs 6,000 crore on the MCDs, and if there is any due on us we will also repay them," the minister said.

He claimed during the meeting, he requested the mayors to urge the Centre to pay the due amount, but they have not shown any interest "which clearly shows that the BJP-ruled MCDs just wants to politicise the issue but has no goodwill to find out a solution". "I have also raised the issue of corruption within the BJP-ruled MCD but they have rejected the claim. Everybody is aware of corruption within the BJP-ruled MCD but they are mum on this," Jain alleged in the statement. Earlier in the day, NDMC Mayor Jai Prakash said, "Three mayors are sitting on ground since morning, and the Delhi CM who talks about upholding the Constitution, has insulted the mayors who are first citizens of Delhi." South Delhi Mayor Anamika claimed that they learned through media that Jain invited them to meet him through Twitter.

"Why can't they send a representative or Mr Jain himself could have come and all of us could have gone to meet the chief minister," she said. East Delhi Mayor Nirmal Jain said, "We had come here to demand a total of Rs 13,000 crore that is due to three municipal corporations from the Delhi government. But, we have been treated like this".

Amid all this, patients of North Corporation-run hospitals faced hardship as its senior doctors went on a day-long casual leave en masse on Monday over pending salaries and decided to go on an indefinite strike from October 27. Maruti Sinha, general secretary of the Municipal Corporation Doctors' Association (MCDA), said, "Our demands, which includes the release of pending salaries for the last three months, have not been met, so we are going on an indefinite strike from tomorrow." AAP leader Durgesh Pathak alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was just doing politics over the issue.

"The Central Government is supposed to pay Rs 12,000 crore to the MCDs and under Article 270 (3) of the constitution, it is their duty," Pathak said in a statement. He said that under the report of the 14th Finance Commission, the Central government provides grants to all the municipalities of the country and it has Rs 2,87,636 as a grant to all the municipalities of the country.

"The AAP demands that the Center should immediately release Rs 12,000 crore to the MCDs. The chief minister and finance minister have repeatedly written to the Center asking them to release this fund but from 2001 the Center has not paid a single penny to the MCDs," Pathak alleged. Hitting out at the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Delhi BJP said that two lakh employees of the municipal corporation are worried but still the AAP government was not paying the salaries to the employees of the corporations.

Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said a week ago, the mayor of the three corporations had written to Kejriwal, conveying the problem the corporations were facing because of their weak economic condition. "The mayors told the chief minister that corona warriors such as doctors, nurses, health workers, sweepers, DBC workers and all employees of the municipal corporations who served the people during the pandemic, are facing problems in getting salaries due to the corporation's funds being stalled," Gupta said in the statement.


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