BMC allots over ₹500 crore to BJP-Shinde coalition MLAs for Mumbai development, none to Opposition: Report

BMC allots over ₹500 crore to BJP-Shinde coalition MLAs for Mumbai development, none to Opposition: Report

Mumbai faces a stark imbalance in infrastructure development, according to an Indian Express investigation. The allocation of funds from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) leans heavily towards MLAs of the ruling BJP-Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena coalition. The pattern of sidelining those from the Opposition emerged from a February 2023 policy that enabled MLAs to request BMC funds for local projects.

More than 500 crore was disbursed during Februaru-December 2023. The entire amount, as per the publication, was allotted to MLAs from the BJP-Shinde coalition.

Records indicate that all 21 ruling coalition MLAs successfully secured funds up to December 2023. However, the 15 opposition MLAs received none despite 11 requests. The funds, a small part of the BMC’s 52,619-crore budget, were meant for diverse development tasks. These range from drain repairs in Dharavi to park beautification in Sewri. The BMC, typically managed by 227 elected corporators, currently operates without an elected body.

Under this framework, Guardian Ministers authorise fund disbursements for MLAs’ projects. While ruling party MLAs swiftly obtained approvals, the opposition faced roadblocks, reported the publication.

For instance, BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha secured 24 crore within a week for his constituency. Opposition MLAs like Uddhav Bal Thackeray Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Waikar and Congress’ Varsha Gaikwad, on the contrary, await funds despite repeated requests, as per Indian Express. This discrepancy extends to various constituencies and hinders essential civic work.

The Indian Express highlighted these disparities, shedding light on the challenges faced by opposition MLAs in garnering support for their constituencies’ development. 

‘No pending requests’

Guardian Minister Lodha, however, insisted on a non-partisan approach to fund allocation. He said there were no pending requests from opposition MLAs.

“At present, I don’t have any pending letters in my possession from the Opposition MLAs. We are disbursing the funds in a liberal manner by assessing the merit of the proposals, which we are receiving and there is no favouritism being done towards anybody,” Lodha told the publication.

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Published: 31 Jan 2024, 10:49 AM IST

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