Starting May 22, the three civic bodies will cease to exist as south, north and east Delhi municipal corporations and will be merged and named Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The ministry of home affairs finally issued a notification for unification of the three civic bodies into a single entity on Wednesday. “In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 3 of Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, the central government hereby appoints the 22nd day of May 2022 on which Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall be constituted,” stated the notification. Sources said the appointment of a special officer to discharge powers of the unified MCD until its first meeting was held would follow soon. An official said, “According to the DMC (Amendment) Act, 2022, the central government needs to appoint a special officer who will implement the task of unification of the civic bodies and supervise operations until the first meeting of MCD is held. The task will include preparing a fresh list of employees in each department, liabilities, assets, etc. ” The notification also did not mention issuing of a special/bailout package to clear the liabilities of the corporations. The three civic bodies currently have liabilities of around Rs 16,500 crore, including loans, pending payment of contractors, arrears, salaries, pension, etc.
“The annual income of SDMC is Rs 3,000 crore, Rs 2,400 crore for north corporation and Rs 800 crore for EDMC. Of this, a major part comprises salaries. Besides, loans, contractor payments and pensions stand in thousands of crores. The only solution to streamline their financial condition is the provision of a special package,” said the official.
Financial crisis and non-payment of salaries has resulted in frequent strikes by doctors, teachers and sanitation staff many times in the past five years. As of now, east corporation has not paid salaries for five months and north corporation for two months.
The last election for the trifurcated corporations occurred on April 23, 2017. On March 9, 2022, the central government had expressed its intention to unify the three corporations. The move had triggered a political blame-game with Aam Aadmi Party terming it a “tactic to delay the elections”.