MC Pahalgam pays for salaries from developmental fund

Violation of J&K Municipal Act

Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR July 24: In a brazen violation of rules and regulations, the Executive Officer (EO) Municipal Committee (MC) Pahalgam has spent around Rs 20 lakh on non-developmental works. The amount in violation has been spent without the knowledge of President MC Pahalgam.
As per J&K Municipal Act, the funds meant for the developmental works, in no way, can be used for paying salaries or spent on other non-developmental works. The funds in focus were meant for developmental works in MC areas and could not have been used otherwise.
President MC Pahalgam Rayees Lone told Excelsior that the EO has released the total sum of Rs 19, 80348 from the developmental funds for various purposes such as salaries for three months since May this year.
“This is a gross violation of the Municipal Act which clearly draws the jurisdiction of the Executive Officer. He cannot spend such an amount on non-developmental works. He has paid for salaries, released GP fund, even paid litigation charges from the same fund,” he said.
The details of funds that have been spent-the copy of which is lying with Excelsior-state that the EO has given Rs 7, 09164, as salary for the month of May this year. Paid wages of sweepers which is a total of Rs 94472 Released GP Fund amounting to Rs 223500, Spent Rs 8000 for president meeting, released Rs 770016 as salary for the month of June this year, Paid Rs 2000 as litigation charges, and lastly, paid the salary for the month of July amounting Rs 51596. The entire money was meant for the developmental works.
The President MC said that while the EO is spending huge sums, he is, at the same time, telling the casual laborers that there were no funds for their wages.
In this regard, the Director Urban Local Bodies has issued a circular directing all the officials in the Municipal Committees to adhere to the rules and regulations in order to avoid any violation in the future.
“…it is impressed upon all the Chief Executive Officers/ Executive Officers of Municipal Councils/ Municipal Committees of Kashmir/Ladakh Division to strictly follow/ adhere the provisions of J&K Municipal Act, 2000 and Business Rules notified vide SRO 25 dated: 03/02/2005 while discharging their legitimate duties vis-à-vis the Power/ protocol of the elected presidents / Vice presidents and Councilors of their respective Municipal Councils/ Committees,” the Circular issued on July 23 reads.
An official from the Directorate Urban Local Bodies told Excelsior that such violations have been happening in almost all Municipal Councils and Committees where the funds meant for developmental works are being spent on salaries.
With regard to the latest violation, he said that during a meeting that was convened on July 23, all the participants were told to adhere to the rules and regulations.