Fund crunch: MC yet to pay Rs 8 crore power bill

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The Municipal Corporation (MC), facing acute shortage of funds, hasn’t paid the power bills worth Rs 8.31 crore to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for the past eight months. The power bills from October 2016 to May 2017 are pending. The bills for water tube well connection, zone offices and sewerage disposals is Rs 21.50 crore, while the bills for streetlights are Rs 10 crore. Senior officials of the local bodies have asked the MC officials to pay the dues till May 31.

Such is the financial health of the MC that it finds itself unable to pay salaries to its employees on time. The civics body has insufficient revenue to pay the traffic dues and salaries. Due to this, water supply can be disrupted in the city. The PSPCL can stop the power supply to 300 tube wells and 50,000 street lights.

MC Commissioner Gurlovelen Singh Sidhu held a meeting recently with the heads of various departments to achieve the target of recovery of dues. Officials of house tax, property tax, water supply and license participated in the meeting. Sidhu instructed the officials to achieve the target of recovery and warned that strict action would be taken if they failed to meet their targets.

The MC collects around Rs 12 to 13 crore every month. Around Rs 8 crore comes from the share of VAT from the government and Rs 4 to 5 crore from water and sewerage bills, building fee, license fee, property tax, advertisement and tehbazari. Almost all the monthly revenue is being used to pay the salaries.Sidhu said, “The MC is facing financial losses for the past couple of years. Power bills are pending. We are making efforts to increase the revenue.”

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