After Lok Sabha elections, Code of Conduct will come into force for Graduates Constituecy poll by July end and for Assembly elections in September-October. This long period under the shadow of Poll Code would certainly throw NMC’s recovery and development works in doldrums.
Nagpur News: Even though Lok Sabha poll in Nagpur constituency is over, the citizens continue to be in Code of Conduct grip and the Government working in non-functional mode. The Lok Sabha poll Code will cease to exist on May 16 in the real sense of the word, well 12 days after May 16 counting. But the relief is very short. Election for Graduates Constituecy in Nagpur is scheduled to be held by July end and the crucial Assembly elections in Maharashtra are likely to be conducted in September-October. In simple words, the Code would continue to keep the citizens harried and hassled in coming days as they would face untold hardships at Government-Semi Government offices dealing with their problems in the name of Code of Conduct. Babus too would have umpteen excuses to shun the work by taking undue advantage of the Code. On the other hand, revenue and subsequent development works of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), already in precarious condition, will take more beating.
The NMC has been finding itself caught betweenthe devil and deep sea – it can neither boost revenue by announcing new schemes nor go for new development works in Code period. Already the revenue collection is witnessing a sharp decline and the target is well short. The red-faced NMC bosses put the blame for this target failure on Tax Inspectors and Tax Collectors and suspended a few recently.
The development works in NMC is likely to take a mighty hit following Gratuates Constituency and Assembly elections scheduled to be held in the coming days. Lok Sabha Poll Code has pushed development in cold storage. Disappointment and frustration is staring the faces of Corporators as many proposals have been gathering dust due to low tax recovery and the Code. The new financial year has started but files of development proposals are not moving an inch ahead. Once the Code period is over, the rush for implementing the development proposals will reach its ominous peak and thus chaos will reign supreme with Corporators racing to complete works in their Wards expediately. No development work means no work for thousands of labourers of all categories leaving them struggling to meet both ends.
The enforcement of Local Body Tax (LBT) in the very first year hit the NMC revenue hard. Coffers got dented by nearly Rs 200 crore despite all out efforts to fill in the blank. Finally, Budgets of Standing Committee and Municipal Commissioner showed a deficit of Rs 350 crore that forced the Administration to resort to a kind of circus to even meet establishment and other expenses. The most affected are the Corporators whose half of the proposals are not sanctioned. Over and above, the Poll Code created more roadblocks on the path of development. The situation has come to such a pass that the Standing Committee took the charge but has not worked for a single day.
The Code of Conduct was enforced from March 5 the day Lok Sabha elections were declared. Nagpur went to poll on April 10 and the counting of votes will be taken on May 16. Hundreds of NMC officials and employees who were deputed for election duty have started to return to their respective works. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Standing Committee Chairman, Ruling Party Leader, Opposition Leader and other office-bearers have also started to hit their chairs but are sitting idle and discussing possible outcome in Nagpur and across the country only. Standing Committee’s Budget is awaiting the sunrise of May 16, the day the Lok Sabha Poll Code period ends. The Budget would then be presented by the Standing Committee Chairman Balya Borkar.
The NMC bosses, other political experts opined that the poll code should be diluted immediately after voting is over. In Maharashtra, the effect of Poll Code is likely to see easing by April end. Thereafter, NMC would be in a position to announce new policies of revenue collection and development policies but subject to Election Commission permission