The left-over grants of Rs 12.24 crore of all the 116 municipal councillors of the BJP and the Congress in Surat Municipal Corporations (SMC) were used for Covid-19 related activities, like setting up infrastructure, medical stores, purchase of medical kits, during the pandemic.
Data obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) query, by a Citizen’s Audit group has also found that councillors spent a major amount of their funds on laying concrete roads, water pipeline networks and installing streetlights. Every year, each SMC municipal councillor receives local area development (LAD) grant of Rs 10 lakh to spend on providing and improving basic facilities, like road, drainage, streetlights, etc, at their wards. The SMC has 29 wards with 116 councillors, of which BJP had 80 councillors while the Congress 36.
As per the data, over 52 per cent grant of all councillors were used on laying concrete roads, 17 per cent on water pipeline network, 12 per cent on Covid-19 related activities, eight per cent on streetlights, six per cent on benches, five per cent on drainage, four per cent on Anganwadis and Suman Vidyalayas (SMC-run schools for classes 8-10), and 1 per cent on tree guards.
Three women councillors of Congress — Vasantben Vaghani, Bhartiben Kapadia, and Daxaben Bhuva – were on the top of the list among the 116 councillors who had spent Rs 28.81 lakh, Rs 23.40 lakh and Rs 22.05 lakh respectively on Anganwadis and Suman schools in their wards.
Surat was the second most badly affected city by Covid Former Standing Committee chairman and BJP leader Anil Goplani said, “We had allotted all our left-over funds on Covid-19 activities. We are happy that our funds were used to save many lives.”
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