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NDMC to sell or lease out 37 properties to pay salaries to employees, HC told

By October or November, the procedure of leasing out or outright sale of nine properties will be completed. We are expecting a revenue of 700-800 crores out of them, said Sanjay Goel, NDMC’s Commissioner.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it was planning to sell or lease out 37 high-value properties in the next 6-12 months to generate more revenue to ensure timely payment of salaries to its employees.

The court on Monday had warned that it was going to start attachment of NDMC’s properties to ensure the employees are paid their salaries.

NDMC’s Commissioner Sanjay Goel told the court that Novelty Cinema has been leased out for Rs 37 crore and another commercial place at Karampura was leased out for Rs 7 crore last month.

“By October or November, the procedure of leasing out or outright sale of nine properties will be completed. We are expecting a revenue of 700-800 crores out of them,” Goel told the court.

The commissioner also informed the court that for the last one and a half year, the NDMC has seen a lag of two months in payment of salaries to the employees which is around 660 crores of the shortfall. “If I realise the 700-800 crores in another six months then this lag will be bridged and we will be able to pay the salary on time,” he told the court.

However, the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh asked Goel whether the NDMC’s generation of revenue was sufficient to meet the demand of salaries in normal times and whether after the process of sale and other efforts are undertaken, it would be able to pay the salaries on time. Goel submitted that the NDMC would be thereafter able to pay salaries regularly.

The court further said that the job of the corporation is not only the payment of salaries but has other mandatory obligations to perform for which also funds are required. “You are here to do public service. You have to keep the city clean, provide education and healthcare which are going to require money,” it added while stressing the need for augmentation of revenue by NDMC.

The court earlier said that it was completely unacceptable that the employees were not being paid their salaries for months together. The officers should take only 50 per cent of the salary till all the dues are cleared, observed the court.

“Maybe you need a haircut, maybe you need to rationalise your force, maybe you have employed too many people regularly or on a contract basis. Kindly have a review of your full strength. See the productivity of these employees. We carry this baggage from the past that government organisations, corporation tend to over employ people,” it said.

Goel told the court that the corporation is a bit overstaffed as it has around 57,000 employees. However, Goel also told the court that no fresh requirement has taken place over the last many years except the contractual engagements made on compassionate grounds.
He also told the court thousands of employees have retired too over the years, and most of the work being done by the municipal body is gradually being outsourced. Immediate retrenchment of staff is a difficult task, he submitted.

Goel also told the court that the NDMC has been running 700 schools and 54 of them have already been closed because the students were found to be less than 50. “They have been merged with the nearby schools. Mergers are taking place. We have identified 43 more schools where the students are less than the optimum number,” he told the court.

He also told the court that NDMC in 2020 received a house tax collection of 684 crores as against 548 crores of 2019. All other revenues saw a decline last year during the pandemic, he said. “We are back on the job as unlock has started and we will try to ensure that more and more properties, which are right now out of the ambit, will be covered,” Goel submitted, adding the amount will be used to meet the dues of the outsourcing agencies.

The court on Monday was informed that in South Delhi and East Delhi Municipal Corporations, salaries and pensions of the employees have been paid.

However, the NDMC on Monday told the court that it has released the salary of safai karamcharis, health workers including doctors and nurses, daily wagers employed at hospitals and other places till April and of others till March. The pensions have been paid only till February, the court was told.

On Monday, the court directed the NDMC to file an affidavit disclosing the particulars of all movable and immovable properties owned by it along with their estimated values and particulars of its bank accounts, including the amount in them as of July 1. The court will hear the case on July 8.

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