NEW DELHI: The mayors of the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), along with other BJP leaders, are protesting outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence and demanding Rs 13,000 crore that they claim is due to the corporations by the state government. However, AAP leader Durgesh Pathak alleged on Thursday that the BJP-ruled North MCD has waived Rs 2,457 crore that the South MCD was supposed to pay as rent for office space. Pathak also told the media that MCD employees were not getting salaries as a result of corruption, incompetence, and financial mismanagement in the civic bodies.

As municipal corporations have proposed a budget for 2021-22, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has decided not to levy any new tax on the public and also made no proposal to increase property tax due to the pandemic. NDMC officials told The Sunday Guardian that it will focus on its old remunerative projects and soft loans to generate revenue. “The North MCD presented the budget for this year. It is unfortunate that in this document, there is no mention of this huge amount which is due from the South MCD,” Pathak told the media. “If SDMC pays this money, then for one year, the North MCD will not face any kind of financial issues and salaries of the employees can be cleared,” he added.

North MCD mayor Jai Prakash said that Pathak was making claims on the basis of a budget that has not been finalised.

The North MCD mayor told The Sunday Guardian: “Delhi is the capital of this country. Arvind Kejriwalji wants to weaken the MCD. This is so unfortunate. If the MCD loses its strength, who will provide services and facilities to the people. The Delhi government doesn’t clean roads or opens dispensaries or schools or community centres. This is done by MCD. So, if MCD doesn’t get the required budget, people will face problems. I want to request Kejriwalji to clear our dues.”

The mayors of North, South, and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, Jai Prakash, Anamika Mithilesh and Nirmal Jain accompanied by Delhi BJP leaders, continued to picket outside the CM’s residence for the fifth consecutive day. In a joint press conference on Thursday, the mayors said that they would continue the dharna until “the corporation gets the money for its rightful funds.”

“We have an expenditure of Rs 5,000 crore every year and we have limited resources. Whatever we get is from property tax, advertisements, car parking and we don’t have GST. In order to avoid putting a burden on the common man, we haven’t increased any tax. We don’t want to pressurise them in this ongoing pandemic. If the situation of coronavirus is under control in Delhi, it is because of MCD because we did door-to-door sanitisation and cleaning, disposed biomedical wastes. So, if all the work is being done by us. so why we are not getting our money? We are not going to leave until Arvind Kejriwalji resolves our issue. We will go to the L-G’s office if need be,” he added.

As a part of its budget proposal for the year 2020-21, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) is planning to hike property tax and change the categories as per which the levy is charged. SDMC’s Additional Commissioner Ramesh Verma, who presented the proposals on Monday, said that the property tax rates have not been raised in the last 10 years.

The properties are divided into three categories in Delhi: A & B, which attracts 12% tax; C, D, E, which attracts 11% tax, and F, G, H, which attracts 7% tax. According to reports, if the new proposal is implemented, these properties will be divided into two categories A & B and C to H. Residents of A & B category colonies will have to pay annual tax of 14% instead of 12% and those residing in areas falling under C-H category, will be paying 12% tax instead of 11% and 7%. However, the proposals need to get approval from the House. It is noteworthy that suggestions to introduce new taxes and hikes have been disapproved by the House previously.