At a time when large swathes of the population in the National Capital Region (NCR) are down with viral fever, dengue and chikungunya, it is ironical that hardly any funds allocated under the Swacch Bharat Mission (SBM) have been put to use. According to the Delhi Citizens’ Handbook 2016, during 2015-16, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has not spent a single rupee out of the R46.28 crore allocated to it under SBM. The South Corporation spent a mere R7.93 lakh (0.25%) of the R31.63 crore it received and no details are available on what the East Corporation did with the R42 crore it received. Since the beginning of the SBM in October 2014, no household toilets have been built against the target of 30,107 by end-March 2016. However, the state built 4,656 community toilets against the targeted 1,982. Instead of sitting on the funds, had the corporations deployed it sensibly, the pressure on the hospitals would have been much lower.
But, funds under SBM can be used only if the urban local body raises its own share of funds for the project. Since the corporations face a cash crunch, any additional funds raised are used to pay employees. More importantly, Delhi is governed by a multiplicity of authorities. Roads, for example, are looked after by six agencies—PWD (under the central government), MCD, NDMC, DDA, National Highways Authority of India and the Delhi Cantonment Board, under the ministry of defence. It is time the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party sort out their differences so that the common man doesn’t suffer.