JMC, SMC empowered to sign up to Rs 20 cr contracts
Councils, Committees can accord approval up to Rs 5 cr
JAMMU, Feb 19: Initiating one more step towards empowering the Urban Local Bodies, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has enhanced the financial powers of the Municipal Corporations, Councils and Committees with the direction to exercise the same strictly as per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000.
As per Section 159 of the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, which deals with procedure for making contract, every contract shall be made on behalf of the Corporation by the Commissioner and no such contract, for any purpose which in accordance with any provision of this Act the Commissioner may not carry out without the approval or sanction of the Corporation, shall be made by him/her until and unless such approval or sanction has been duly obtained.
This Section further reads: “Every contract involving an expenditure not exceeding one lakh rupees or such higher amount as the Corporation may fix, may be made by the Commissioner. Provided that contracts exceeding Rs 50 lakh in value or such other higher amount as the Government may fix, shall be entered into by the Corporation only after the prior approval of the Government”.
Now, in order to financially empower the Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporations the Government has accorded sanction to the enhancement of their powers under Section 159 of the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 to enter into contracts up to an amount of Rs 20 crore without reference to the Housing and Urban Development Department or the Government.
An order in this regard has been issued by the Principal Secretary to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department Dheeraj Gupta in compliance to the Decision No.24/4/2020 taken by the Administrative Council headed by Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu.
The Government has also revised the financial powers of the Municipal Committees and Municipal Councils and Director Urban Local Bodies.
The Full Municipal Council has been given the powers to accord approval up to Rs 5 crore while as President of the Municipal Council jointly with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) can accord approval up to Rs 10 lakh. Similarly, the Full Municipal Committee has been given the powers to accord approval up to Rs 5 crore while as President jointly with Executive Officer can accord approval up to Rs 5 lakh.
To enter into contracts for purchase of stores supplies and services, the Full Municipal Council has been given all the powers while as President jointly with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) can accord approval for contracts up to Rs 5 lakh. Similarly, the Full Municipal Committee can exercise full powers while as President jointly with EO can exercise powers up to Rs 2 lakh.
“The powers as may be exercised by the Presidents and the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Officer shall be subject to subsequent ratification by the Council/Committee”, read the order issued by the Principal Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department.
The Government, while financially empowering these Urban Local Bodies, has explicitly told them to exercise the powers strictly as per the provisions of the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, applicable rules, norms and instructions of the Government from time to time and within the budgetary limits so that no liability of any sort is created.
It is pertinent to mention here that Government has already ordered change of framework of execution of civil works of the Urban Local Bodies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
As per this decision, the Engineering Wings of the Directorate of Urban Local Bodies Kashmir/Jammu have been abolished and transferred to the Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporations. Moreover, approval has been accorded to the execution of civil works of Urban Local Bodies through respective divisions/sub-divisions of the Public Works Department.
The Directorate of Urban Local Bodies Kashmir/Jammu will continue to perform other functions-release of funds to the ULBs, accord of sanction and administrative approval to the work etc.