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UT says can’t pay hiked honorarium retrospectively

January 23, 2020 05:39 AM

Vivek Gupta

Chandigarh : The UT administration has rejected the councillors’ demand to grant them hike in monthly honorarium retrospectively from 2015.

The decision comes at a time when councillors have been busy approving self-serving agendas, be it hiring of personal staff or free fuel for personal vehicles.

The UT had notified the hike in their monthly honorarium in August 2019, but councillors demanded that it should be made effective from 2015, the year in which the Punjab government took a similar decision.

Councillors argued that since the Chandigarh civic body’s working is governed by the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, they should also get the enhancement in honorarium on Punjab’s pattern.

However, the administration in its rejection note stated that there is no provision of retrospective hike in UT laws. “The hike will be implemented from the date it was notified,” said a senior official, seeking anonymity. MC commissioner KK Yadav confirmed the development.

While the mayor’s honorarium has seen 33% hike (from ₹30,000 to ₹45,000), that of councillors has gone up 50% (from ₹10,000 to ₹15,000). The honorarium of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, too, has seen a major increase.

According to rough estimates, the UT move has saved the MC from a fiscal burden of ₹1 crore. In case the honorarium were to be paid since 2015, it would have led to disbursal of an additional ₹25 lakh per annum up to 2019.

Latest freebies in danger too

Sources said the UT’s latest rejection has also cast a shadow on the latest freebies approved by them. The MC House in December approved hiring of two personal staffers for each councillor, and in the latest meeting on Tuesday, it was decided that councillors will get 100 litre fuel per month for their personal vehicles.

A senior MC official said both these proposals do not conform with the Punjab legislation. “Hence, the chances of these getting the UT’s approval seem bleak,” he said.

Vinod Vashisht, convener, City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations, said it was ironic that councillors sought retrospective hike in their monthly honorarium while citing the same Act they violated by arbitrarily approving freebies for themselves. “In both the cases, councillors moved last-minute table agenda to avoid the scrutiny of officers,” he said.

Vashisht said when the councillors have got a substantial hike in honorarium, they should not be eyeing other privileges, especially when the MC’s fiscal condition is very poor

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