It appears that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tactic of forming a five-member committee to recover dues worth Rs 2,264 crore from the state have been unsuccessful, as none of the meetings between the two sides have been fruitful.
According to the civic body’s internal report, the state owes Rs 1,968 crore in grants, of which a major chunk is education aid pegged at Rs 1,436 crore while other dues comprise property tax (Rs 98 crore), healthcare (Rs 75 crore) and water and sewage charges (Rs 123 crore), which is a grand total of Rs 2,264 crore.
Former municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar had announced in his budget speech for 2012-13 that a panel would be set up to take up the issue with state officials to ensure faster recovery of the money. The five-member committee comprises the head of the health department, a property tax official, an education officer, a hydraulic engineer and an official from assessor and collector (A and C) department. A high-ranking BMC official said, “They had two meetings with the state government representatives, but the outcome was not productive.”
Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said, “We are trying our best to retrieve the money from various state government bodies.” Mayor Sunil Prabhu and municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte too have written to the state government on the subject. Prabhu had even asked for a coordination meeting with the chief minister, which was last held a decade ago. A and C department head V K Agharkar said, “We have informed them [state officials] about the pending amount and placed our demands.
They’ll now cross check with the departments concerned, and this process is in on.” While deputy hydraulic engineer A Tawadia said the committee had written to the government, executive health officer Arun Bamne refused to comment on the matter. A senior BMC official, however, said that just two to three meetings were not enough to persuade the state to clear the dues.
The other side
“There are some issues pertaining to unpaid money. Hopefully, we will sort out all concerns soon,” said Shrikant Singh, principal secretary of urban development department.