AAP, BJP spar over municipal corporations levying property conversion charges

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (PTI) The AAP and the BJP engaged in a war of words on Thursday over the municipal corporations in Delhi levying property conversion charges on shopkeepers.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged the three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) ruled by the BJP are sending notices to shopkeepers to deposit property conversion charges despite its earlier claim of waiving it.

Rejecting the charge, the Delhi unit of the BJP said the civic bodies had never announced waiving conversion charges, except for some markets.

Addressing a press conference, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj alleged that before election, the BJP had put up posters thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for waiving conversion fees, but they are now back to extort money from shopkeepers.

'BJP-ruled North MCD collected Rs 1,007 crore from conversion charges. There is no account of this money and now just Rs 1.55 crore is remaining,' said Bhardwaj.

'To hide such corruption, the BJP does not want Delhi assembly committees to look into these matters and ask questions to the MCDs,' he claimed.

However, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said that the three municipal corporations had never announced any waiver of conversion charges, except for some markets.

'Announcing waiver is not in the hands of MCDs only. DDA (Delhi Development Authority) is authorised (agency), so there is no question of MCDs announcing waiver of conversion charge,' he said.

A waiver was announced for the markets which were originally allotted for commercial use and the process is underway, he said, adding that it took a little longer as shopkeepers needed additional time to submit their papers for exemption. Now the process is in the final stage, he said.

Kapoor further said that the municipal corporations are issuing notices to recover pending annual conversion charges.

'Due to cash crunch, MCDs have been forced to use conversion charges fund for issuing salary to employees,' he said, rejecting the charge that the money is being kept in a separate account.

He also alleged that the AAP government in Delhi was not releaseing funds due to the civic bodies. PTI UZM VIT SMN SMN