Tax-payers’ money is “going down the drain” as the authorities are squandering it by delaying development projects, the Delhi High Court has said, terming it as “a very sorry state of affairs”. The sharp observations came when a high court bench was informed that the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi was yet to complete the construction of a foot-over bridge (FoB) and an underpass on a railway line, despite the fact that the project in West Delhi was inaugurated way back in 2008. “Everyone present in this courtroom pays tax. It pains our judicial conscience, when we deal with such issues. The authorities are squandering taxpayers’ money and this speaks of a very sorry state of affairs,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said.
The court took note of the fact that the MCD was in breach of even the extended time-line of 2014 and said “the misuse of taxpayers’ money by authorities must stop at all cost. They have a monopoly in determining as to how our money is spent.” The project is not “even moving at snail’s pace”, it said adding that BJP, which has won the MCD polls third time in a row, is ruling the tri-furcated civic body for over ten years now and yet projects are far from being completed.
“The authorities, whether it is the corporation or the government, are not understanding that we pay for these projects. Our money is being misused and it is going down the drains,” it said, adding that the breach of time-lines again and again must have escalated the project cost by many notches. The civic body, during the hearing, could not apprise the court about the escalated cost of the two projects. The High Court has now asked the municipal body to file a status report by July 25 indicating the time-line within which they propose to complete the projects.
It was hearing a PIL, filed by Delhi-based activist Sandeep Kumar, alleging that delay in construction of a railway FoB and the underpass at Nangloi and Sultanpuri respectively in West Delhi was creating problems for commuters. The projects were undertaken as the railway crossing in these areas were unmanned and had led to many fatal accidents in past.