Be self-sufficient, don’t seek funds: Union Minister Gadkari to civic bodies

New Delhi: Asking them to become self- sufficient, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said municipal corporations across the country should bolster their revenues through implementation of innovative ideas rather than seeking funds from outside. The Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping was speaking at the opening of the 47th annual session of the All India Council of Mayors (AICM) at the Civic Centre in New Delhi.

“The civic bodies must strive to become self-sufficient and generate revenues through implementation of innovative ideas, like waste-to-energy conversion, biogas and biofuels and usage of sewerage water after treatment,” he said.

The AICM meeting, hosted by Delhi, was attended by about 40 mayors from across the country, including all the mayors of the three BJP-ruled corporations of Delhi.

“There is no need to seek funds from a state government or anyone else from outside, because, if the civic bodies can implement smart, innovative policies, then there would be no need to seek funds from outside anyway,” he added.

The three civic bodies in the national capital – the North, South and East Corporations (NDMC, SDMC and EDMC) have lately been at loggerheads with the AAP dispensation over release of what the corporations claim are their “grants” and “municipal reform funds”, due from the Delhi government.

North Delhi Mayor Ravinder Gupta said, “We respect Gadkariji’s suggestions on becoming self-sufficient, in fact, we have been endeavouring to do so. But, from Delhi government, we have only been asking for money that is due to us, and that we will continue to ask for.” Speaking about the Civic Centre, the headquarters of NDMC and SMDC, the Union minister said, “the towering building has helipads on its roof, which can be used to boost revenues manifold.”

When asked about the aviation facility, NDMC’s Standing Committee Chairman Mohan Bhardwaj said, “Yes, we do have two helipads on top of our building, but they have not been used so far for security reasons. But we will look into ways and means of using that facility now.”

Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Minister Umashankar Gupta, also General Secretary (Organisation) of AICM, said, “In our annual general body meeting today, one of the things we seek to discuss is about bringing uniformity in the mayoral tenure, as they differ from state to state.”

“Some states have one-year rotational mayoral tenure like Delhi, some have 2.5 years and some have full five years. So, overall feeling is that we should have a term of full five years. Also, we should have some basic regulations which should apply to all states,” said Gupta, an ex-Bhopal Mayor.

Gadkari also asked the AICM to come up with a website, so that mayors from all cities can “connect with each other and exchange knowledge and ideas for mutual benefit.” Mayors from Gandhinagar, Raipur, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ranchi, Darbhanga, among others, attended the session.