Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): The fiscal situation of Ujjain Municipal Corporation (UMC) has deteriorated not just because of poor earnings and exorbitant expenses, but also due to ignorance of the state government.
Most unfortunately, the lack of willpower of the ruling BJP leaders in the UMC board coupled with total absence of rapport among its public representatives has lead to the sorry state of economic affairs of the UMC.
When the new BJP board took the reins of UMC a year ago, it had liabilities of over Rs 100 crore mainly towards civil contractors. Ironically, the same situation prevails at this stage, as well.
Most of the already sanctioned infrastructural works are either a non-starter or lying unimplemented. Key projects pertaining to AMRUT mission as well as up-gradation and beautification of Mahakal Sawari route and widening of KD Gate-Imli Tiraha Road have been worst-affected.
The situation of UMC’s regular receipts through state exchequer can be understood by the fact that recently it got only Rs 7 crore as against a due of Rs 12 crore as ‘chungi kar’ (toll tax). One more instance can prove it better that how the fiscal situation is at ground zero.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple Administration Committee developed ‘Shri Mahakal Lok’ a year ago and also constructed commercial shops on UMC-owned land and even slapped Rs 200, Rs 250 and Rs 750 per visitor for bhasma aarti permission, fast darshan facility and offering jalabhishek at Mahakaleshwar Temple, respectively, yet UMC did not even get a penny.
Moreover, the Unity Mall project costing over Rs 280 crore, which was initially submitted by the UMC to the state government was snatched away by Ujjain Development Authority (UDA).
All the public representatives belong to BJP in Ujjain. Both city assembly seats are represented by Mohan Yadav, who is a cabinet minister and Paras Jain, who was a former cabinet minister. Likewise, Anil Firojia is MP from Ujjain constituency.
Even then, BJP’s UMC board is taking deep breaths to overcome its cash-strapped position. However, Mayor Mukesh Tatwal seems running his hands and feet to control financial crisis.
He met Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, urban administration and development minister Bhupendra Singh and principal secretary Neeraj Mandloi in Bhopal several times to generate funds, but all his efforts went in vain.
He says, he won’t leave his endeavours to get funds from the state government.
On the other hand, additional municipal commissioner (finance) Aditya Nagar admitted to Free Press that they have been continuously facing hardships to make various payments.
According to him, payments for old and new work have been cleared on rotation basis. He, however, added that steps to collect due taxes and to curtail expenditure have been initiated to improve the fiscal condition of UMC.