The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) councillor from Mulund civic ward no. 104, Prakash Gangadhare of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding the passing of an ordinance amending the BMC Act, as such an amendment will allow them to use councillors' funds for pandemic alleviation measures.
In his letter, he said, "At present, councillors' funds can only be utilised for civic amenities, like road and nullah repairs, streetlights etc. The BMC Act restricts utilisation of funds for other activities. Therefore, this Act should be amended and around Rs 25 lakh of the funds should be made available for buying masks, santisers, carrying out fumigation etc."
Every year, each corporator is provided Rs 60 lakh in funds and an additional Rs one crore is given to each of the 24 wards, for use in various civic works.
The 24 civic wards are headed by the assistant municipal commissioner (AMC). There are a total of 227 corporators, from the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the Indian National Congress(INC), the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP) and the Samajwadi Party(SP).
Gangadhare further said in his letter, "Permitting the utilisation of part of the annual funds on pandemic will provide major assistance in tackling the situation at the ward-level. Since vast quantities of masks, santisers are require and considerable fumigation costs are involved, if corporators are allowed to use their funds, the work can be done more efficiently."
Agreeing with Gangadhare, another corporator, Nehal Shah of Ward No. 177 said, "The BMC and all corporators are currently involved in providing sanitisers, masks and food to the needy. No other work is going on. If the allocated funds can be used for all these essential expenses, it will play a major role in the fight against coronavirus at ground level."