The atmosphere at the board meeting of Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) witnessed a sudden change when a municipal councillor of Indirapuram threatened to resign over the delay in handover of Indirapuram from the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) on Thursday.
Sanjay Singh, councillor from ward no 100 (Shipra Sun City), was visibly upset with the callous attitude of GMC in taking over the maintenance of Indirapuram from GDA.
“I don't know whether other councillors would support me but if the matter is not resolved, I will resign from my post. I don't want to sit idle, hands tied,” he loudly announced during his address to the chair presided by Aasha Sharma, Mayor of Ghaziabad.
Meanwhile, other councillors from Indirapuram also chipped in during Singh's address stating, “We can not even make a toilet in our area as GMC won't allow us.”
The reason behind disappointment of councillors is the long-pending issue of handover of Indirapuram to GMC which is currently looked after by GDA. The process of handover has been pending for more than six years now.
While the things started moving in October 2018 when GDA set up a committee in October followed by a joint inspection of Indirapuram by both the departments in December 2018, the process, soon came to a halt when GMC refused taking over the area citing the infrastructure “not up to the mark.”
While the authorities are unable to work in tandem which hampers the development of the area, they charge over Rs 40 crore of tax per annum from the residents of Indirapuram. Of which, only Rs 8 crore are spent, that too by GDA only.
As per estimates, GMC recovers Rs 12 crore as house tax while Rs 24 crore are recovered as sewer and water tax by GDA. While GDA spends tax on maintenance, the amount GMC collects goes unutilised. This is happening when 44 per cent of residents don't pay house tax to GMC.
“Why do we collect tax from the residents if we can not spend it to provide service to them?” asked Singh.
“Besides, there are total 7 councillors in Indirapuram and each councillor is allocated Rs 1 crore to utilise in development of their area. But can we utilize it? If all councillors utilise this fund, there would be great development in the area,” stated Singh while speaking to City Spidey.
“It's shameful and embarrassing for us to turn down requests of the people who voted for us. The delay in takeover is hampering this beautiful area,” added Singh.
Demand for setting up a committee including councillors for handover
Proposing a solution to expedite the process of takeover, Sanjay Singh and six other councillors demanded a new committee to be constituted with them as members in the meeting. “It would fasten the process of takeover,” Singh reasoned.
When questioned that whether dissatisfaction of GMC from infrastructure of Indirapuram and incomplete development work would become a hurdle again, he said that the committee would work upon its solution then.
“We may force GDA to speed up the completion of development work. Also, we can takeover first and ask them to pay us for completing the incomplete projects as done earlier in case of Vaishali,” Singh answered.
During the handover of Vaishali, which happened in 2014, the GDA had paid Rs 390 lakhs to GMC to complete pending works of parks, street lights, etc.