Sur­plus bud­get, yet MCG has no money to pay phone bills

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Region - Kar­tik Ku­mar kar­tik.ku­

GU­RU­GRAM: The staff work­ing for the rich­est civic body in Haryana, the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Gu­ru­gram (MCG), which net­ted a sur­plus of ₹406 crore in its 2017-18 bud­get, were un­able to use their of­fi­cial cell­phone num­bers for seven hours on Thurs­day as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had failed to make pay­ment to the ser­vice provider.

On Thurs­day, all of MCG’s 183 staff mem­bers and 35 coun­cil­lors were un­able to make out­go­ing calls with their of­fi­cial num­bers be­tween 3pm and 10pm. The MCG has 635 sanc­tioned posts, out of which at least 183 po­si­tions are filled by staff mem­bers, while the rest are of­fi­cials on dep­u­ta­tion or are out­sourced.

Worst-hit were the en­gi­neer­ing, san­i­ta­tion, tax­a­tion and hor­ti­cul­ture wing staffers, many of whom only had a sin­gle of­fi­cial num­ber for com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Func­tion­ing of sev­eral de­part­ments was af­fected be­cause of the non-pay­ment of bills, of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

MCG com­mis­sioner Yash­pal Ya­dav con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment, but re­fused to com­ment fur­ther on the is­sue. “It (tem­po­rary dis­con­nec­tion) hap­pened due to non-pay­ment of bills,” he said. Ac­cord­ing to MCG of­fi­cials, the au­dit wing had reser­va­tions re­gard­ing the mo­bile bill amount be­cause of which the bills had not been paid since June. The of­fi­cial said the bill amount for the June and July bill cy­cles was around ₹11 lakh, cu­mu­la­tively. How­ever, the same could not be in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied.

Around 3pm on Thurs­day, MCG of­fi­cials dis­cov­ered that their out­go­ing call fa­cil­ity had been ‘tem­po­rar­ily dis­con­tin­ued’.

Speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity, an MCG en­force­ment wing of­fi­cial said, “Some of us were car­ry­ing out anti-en­croach­ment drives in sec­tors 43, 56 and 57. The drive was un­der­way when my phone’s out­go­ing call fa­cil­ity was ‘tem­po­rar­ily dis­con­tin­ued’ and co­or­di­na­tion be­came a prob­lem. There have been in­stances when such drives have faced re­sis­tance from lo­cals and turned vi­o­lent. On Thurs­day, we were con­stantly con­cerned that we would not be able to alert any­one if the same hap­pened to us.”

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