From Sunday, Delhi to have one municipal corporation

The Civic Centre on Minto Road will be the headquarters of the unified MCD.

The Civic Centre on Minto Road will be the headquarters of the unified MCD. | Photo Credit: File photo

Delhi’s three municipal corporations — North, South and East — will be merged into a single entity on May 22. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification in this regard on Wednesday.

The move comes a decade after the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated. The BJP has been in power at the civic level since 2007.

The Central government’s proposal to merge the three corporations — which came to light on March 9, the day the State Election Commissioner was scheduled to announce the dates of civic polls in Delhi— triggered a war of words between the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party. While AAP said the BJP was “scared of holding municipal elections”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah hit out at the Delhi government, stating that it had meted out “stepmotherly” treatment to the civic bodies.

Delimitation exercise

The MHA also issued a notification stating that the Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 will come into force on Sunday. According to the Act, a special officer appointed by the Centre will administer the unified MCD till the civic elections are held.

“The next step is for the Centre to appoint the Special Officer, followed by the commissioning of the delimitation exercise, without which the municipal elections cannot take place,” said a senior official at the State Election Commission (SEC).

The term of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation ended on Tuesday and the South civic body’s term expired on Wednesday. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation’s term will come to an end on Saturday.

A senior civic official said, “The special officer is likely to be appointed by May 23 because the term of the corporations comes to a close on May 22. So there has to be someone to take charge of the unified corporation.”

Seat reduction

The Act brings along a series of amendments that will limit the number of seats for councillors to not more than 250 – from the existing 272. Also, the word “Government” will be substituted with “Central Government” in 11 sections of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.

The senior SEC official emphasised that the delimitation exercise — which has been triggered by the reduction in the number of councillor seats — will take “at least a year”.

Challenges ahead

The civic official said that “plenty” of top-level posts — including that of additional commissioners — will be slashed following the merger. “The three corporations together have approximately 1.5 lakh employees. However, there is still a requirement of many lower and mid-level posts to be filled. There’s no question of a surplus in employee strength once the corporation is unified,” he said.

Another civic official said that once the unified corporation comes into effect, the duties and functions of the civic body — including its ongoing anti-encroachment drives — will continue as it is, minus the political faces.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 1:32:04 am |