Corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) want an edge over bureaucrats in a power tussle over sanctioning of civic proposals.
While chairman of ward committees are authorised to sanction proposals only worth Rs5 lakh after committee members agree, deputy municipal commissioners (DMC), who are secretaries of ward committees, can clear proposals worth Rs25 lakh in their personal capacity.
Corporators across party lines have been whispering their dissent over the issue for some time now. Leader of the House Shailesh Phanse has now moved a notice of motion, which has demanded that the sanctioning authority of the chairman should be increased from Rs5 lakh to 20 lakh.
“Why should a civic official have more rights than public representatives. We are trustees of the BMC and we have the responsibility of undertaking civic works at the local level. Ward committees were constituted to facilitate work which was not taken up at a higher level. However, if the chairman does not have powers to sanction proposals beyond Rs5 lakh, these works cannot be undertaken,” said Phanse.
Phanse argued that with the rising cost of civic works, most proposals are worth more than Rs20 lakh. “Each chairperson has more than three to four wards under his/her jurisdiction. A chairperson, who represents more than 12 to 15 electoral wards, has to then follow up with the BMC for the approval of small works. Why should we go through this insult,” he said.
Ward committees were constituted in 1997 to expedite local level works like repairs of inner roads, drainage lines, footpaths, toilets and other such civic works.