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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

As polls near, govt turns to slums

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 16, 2013
First Published: 01:29 IST(16/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:31 IST(16/7/2013)

Setting sights on the forthcoming polls, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government plans to spend more on its core constituency — slumdwellers in the city and minorities across the state.

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In its supplementary demand — the money sought in addition to the budget allocation in March —various departments in the state legislature have asked for Rs237 crore for slum development in the city and Rs75 crore for minority welfare. The total demand is worth more than Rs8,000 crore, in addition to the Rs46,938 crore plan outlay.

The government wants to spend Rs1,200 crore for drought relief, Rs700 crore on rehabilitation package of Gosikhurd irrigation project, Rs700 crore on salary arrears of college teachers, Rs650 crore on roads and Rs300 crore as grant for municipal corporations where local body tax has been imposed.

Opposition leader in the Assembly Eknath Khadse demanded more time in the legislature to discuss the demands. “This is a huge amount. We want to debate its need and want answers from the government,” he said.

The biggest demand of Rs1,200 crore, said a government official, was for dealing with natural calamities such as drought. “The drought relief continues and we need to spend more on it,” he said.

The housing department has asked for Rs. 237 crore for slum development in Mumbai. It plans to upgrade infrastructure in the areas, where more than 50% of city’s population lives in sub-human conditions. The grant for minorities will be routed through the Maulana Azad Corporation and special projects in minority-dominated gram panchayats and schools.


State admits to scam in medical purchase
HT Correspondent
htmetro@hindustantimes.com

Mumbai: The public health department, on Monday, admitted to irregularities and scam in the purchase of medical equipment and furniture for hospitals in various parts of the state.

The issue of corruption in the purchase of ventilators, furniture, X-ray machines, colour dopler machines was raised during the question hour in the state Assembly on Monday. Public health minister Suresh Shetty, in a written reply to a query raised during the question hour, said that there were irregularities in the purchase of 40 ventilators in 2009-10. The government said that the investigation report on it was received two weeks ago.

Shetty admitted that Godrej Interio had filed a complaint with the government about the irregularities in the purchase of furniture worth Rs40 crore. He also claimed that the department had paid excessive amount, in violation of the set norms. The minister admitted that the IV bottles supplied to Amravati district in April were of inferior quality. He said that the bottles had fungal growth and were scrapped later.

Shetty said that his department had initiated the process of termination of 450 ‘absconding’ doctors, who were appointed by the government.

He said that 1,900 posts of medical officers in government colleges are vacant.


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