The bill to merge Delhi’s three civic bodies into one was cleared by the Union cabinet today. The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill is expected to be tabled in the ongoing Parliamentary Budget Session. Sources said the bill provides for the Delhi Municipal Corporation to unite by taking over three existing corporations-South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).
The former Delhi Municipal Corporation was disbanded in 2011 by the then UPA government.
Sources said the trifurcation is uneven in terms of territorial division and revenue -generating potential of each company. As a result, there is a large gap between the resources available to each corporation and their obligations.
The gap is widening over time, sources said, increasing the financial difficulties of civic bodies, causing them to be unable to pay timely salaries and retirement benefits to employees. This has had a spiral effect on civic services in Delhi.
Delhi BJP chief Aadesh Gupta welcomed the move. “The decision taken by the Union Cabinet to merge the three corporations is a very welcome move, which will strengthen the corporation and do a better job for the public,” he said.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi party has questioned the timing of the bill, which is likely to affect the general election. All three civic bodies are now under the control of the BJP.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to postpone the election of civic bodies.
“Prime Minister, the government will come and go. You will not be there, nor will I be there. But don’t weaken the state institutions. Don’t delay the MCD election,” he said in a video message earlier this month tweeted by AAP from the holder officially.