New Delhi: In a boost to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's efforts to split the MCD ahead of municipal polls in April, the Delhi government on Wednesday received the Presidential assent to a bill seeking to trifurcate the civic agency.

Top officials in the government said the next step would be to issue a notification making the bill an act following which the process of trifurcation of the MCD will begin.

President Pratibha Patil had given her assent to the bill last week itself but the government received the file only on Wednesday as it was routed through the Home Ministry, they said.

A special session of the Delhi Assembly had passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill on December one following which it was sent to the President for her assent.

As per the bill, MCD will be split into North, South and East Delhi municipal corporations and 50 percent of total 272 seats will be reserved for women as against current 33 percent. While the North and South Delhi bodies will have 104 wards each, the civic body in East Delhi will have 64 wards.

The Home Ministry had cleared the proposal to split the MCD in November, five months after receiving it from the Delhi government.

The trifurcation of the MCD is seen as Dikshit's hold over Delhi Congress as despite stiff opposition from a section of her own party, the proposal was first endorsed by top leadership of AICC and then cleared by Home Ministry. The officials said government will now start the process of setting up a directorate of municipal services which will carry out the ground work for splitting the MCD into three smaller bodies and later coordinate functioning of the three municipalities.

The Delhi government wants to complete the entire process of trifurcation as early as possible as notification for municipal polls is expected to be issued by end of February.

The officials said State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta has also started the process of selecting the wards to be reserved for women and scheduled caste candidates.     Mehta is expected to finalise the process in a week's time.

The directorate of municipal services will be controlled by the Delhi government and it would coordinate functioning of the three new bodies.

(Agencies)