New Delhi, May 22
The unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) formally came into existence on Sunday as IAS officers Ashwani Kumar and Gyanesh Bharti assumed charge as the new civic body’s special officer and commissioner, respectively.
The MCD was trifurcated in 2012 during Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as the chief minister. It is now reunified by merging three civic bodies—North, South and East Municipal Corporations.
According to municipal officials, Kumar will be the top authority handling the civic affairs till a new House is elected.
He said providing the best of civic amenities to the public and improvement of sanitation services will be among his top priorities.
“Sanitation is a basic and obligatory function of any civic body and its impact is always clearly visible on ground. So, my priority will be to further improve sanitation services in the city,” Kumar told PTI.
Kumar’s appointment as the special officer of the unified MCD is considered significant as he is expected to play a vital role in the functioning of the unified municipal corporation, months before the civic elections.
A 1992-batch IAS officer of the AGMUT cadre, Kumar was the chief secretary of Puducherry. He had recently been transferred to Delhi by the central government and was awaiting posting.
He assumed the charge of the special officer at the Civic Centre — the MCD headquarters— on Sunday.
He had also served as the principal secretary of the Public Works Department in the Delhi government in 2017.
Bharti, a 1998-batch IAS officer also of the AGMUT cadre, was the commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation prior to this assignment, and he was the senior-most among Delhi’s erstwhile three municipal commissioners.
“My priority will be to provide the best municipal services delivered to the people of Delhi in a transparent manner,” Bharti said.
With the unified MCD getting its special officer and a new commissioner, the exercise to reshuffle and reorganise the municipal staff will begin.
The erstwhile North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations were severely hit by fund crunch as they were unable to pay their staff a regular salary. The situation was slightly better in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Making the unified MCD financially stable will be among the key challenges before Kumar and Bharti, according to sources.
The three civic bodies have been merged into one MCD through the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022.
A bill to unify the three civic bodies was approved by the Lok Sabha on March 30 and by the Rajya Sabha on April 5. The bill became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to it on April 18.
The Act reduces the number of wards in the national capital to 250 from the existing 272, which means that the MCD will have to undergo a delimitation exercise before the election. The Centre will form a delimitation commission to carry out the demarcation of wards.
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