MCD break-up plan mooted

NEW DELHI, JULY 12. If all goes well, the MCD could be heading for a break-up with a specified development agenda within a proposed limited area. The Delhi Government and the Union Urban Development Ministry are learnt to have agreed in principle to give a concrete shape to the idea of having separate municipal bodies for Trans-Yamuna, West, South and North Delhi.

Giving an indication to this effect, the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms. Sheila Dixit, today announced that the State Government would soon submit a proposal to the Urban Development Ministry for breaking up MCD into smaller bodies for better and efficient civic management in the city. ``At present, we are only discussing the break-up of the MCD. What shape it will take will be decided after consultations with the Centre and persons and organisations,'' she asserted.

``I mooted this proposal at the meeting of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) here today. At the same time, I discussed the matter with the Urban Development Minister, Mr. Jagmohan, who was very positive and receptive to the idea of breaking up the MCD which was presently taking care of 95 per cent area of the Capital,'' Ms. Dixit told newspersons.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of Haryana, Up and Rajasthan who are members of NCR. It was chaired by the Union Urban Development Minister.

The demand for decentralisation of civic activity had been coming from different quarters and the new break-up proposal was a step in that direction. It was also an effort by the Government to bring about accountability in the system and to reduce the burden on one single Corporation for handling the civic affairs of the city.

At present, the MCD is over-burdened as it looks after not only the civic activity but also in execution of developmental works under various schemes including the MLA Constituency Development Fund Scheme. Of late, the performance of the MCD has come under fire as it was finding it increasingly difficult to handle the civic activities and had been found wanting in many areas.

Ms. Dixit was also critical of the fact that various agencies had failed to give a concrete shape to the development of the National Capital Region (NCR) and said the time had come to make a concerted effort before things go out of control. ``All the States have to agree that the issue of water and power should be treated at par in the entire NCR and funds have to be made available equally to all regions,'' she asserted.

Stating that Delhi bore the brunt of the failure of the NCR concept, Ms. Dixit said because of non-activity in the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) things have remained stagnant and there has been no visible movement to strengthen the NCR township plan. ``This is a serious matter. In view of the massive migration into the Capital every year and the fast decreasing resources like water and power, it was high time that the NCR concept was given a big impetus,'' the Chief Minister stated.

Ms. Dixit made out a strong case for having a Common Economic Zone among the NCR States removing all trade barriers. At the same time, she said, all the NCR member States should bear the burden of constructing express highways in the region so that heavy and unwanted traffic could by-pass the cities.