MHA Notifies Unification; 3 Delhi Civic Bodies to be Treated as One from May 22

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a notification for the unification of three municipal corporations into a single entity. The South, North, and East MCD will be treated as one Municipal Corporation of Delhi from May 22.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022 (10 of 2022), the Central Government hereby appoints the 22nd day of May 2022 on which the Municipal Corporation of Delhi shall be constituted,” the MHA notification reads.

News18 was the first to report on May 13 that the notification will be issued by the MHA this week.

According to the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act, 2022, the central government will appoint a “special officer” to run the new unified civic body until the first meeting of the corporation is held.

An Additional Chief Secretary level officer is likely to be appointed as the “special officer” as mandated in the amended MCD Act. 1988 batch IAS officer Gyanesh Bharti, who currently heads the South MCD, is the senior amongst the contenders, as per sources.

In the absence of a MHA notification appointing the “special officer”, the powers of the MCD commissioner could be vested in the Delhi Lieutenant Governor. However, with Anil Baijal also stepping down from the post, there are speculations over leadership of the unified MCD. “Even if LG has resigned, he can be requested to continue to hold office till the time a successor is appointed,” a MHA official said.

The task will be cut out for the “special officer” as he will take charge amidst the bulldozer politics going on in the national capital.

Meanwhile, the term of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation ended today, while the other two civic bodies — North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East DMC will be completing their terms on May 19 and May 22, respectively.

Legislation to unify the three civic bodies was approved by the Lok Sabha on March 30 and by the Rajya Sabha on April 5. The legislation had become an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill on April 18.

The move to merge the three civic bodies had triggered a political blame game with Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party terming it a “tactic to delay the elections”.

The Act reduces the number of wards to 250 from the existing 272, which means that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will have to undergo a delimitation exercise before elections. The Centre will form a delimitation commission to carry out the demarcation of wards.

The State Election Commission was scheduled to announce civic poll dates on March 8, but it had to defer the announcement. The then State Election Commissioner had said that the commission had an hour before the announcement received a communication from the Centre regarding the unification of the three civic bodies.

(with inputs from reporter Arunima and news agency PTI)

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