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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

MC budget shears allocation on development

Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times  Patiala, March 14, 2013
First Published: 21:29 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 21:30 IST(14/3/2013)

City residents have nothing to cheer for in the annual budget, 2013-14, which stands at Rs. 139 crore as passed by the Patiala municipal corporation on Thursday.

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Though another Rs. 13 crore have been added to the previous budget figures of 126 crore, the money allocated for the development of the city has been slashed sharply.

As per the budget proposals laid in the general house meeting of the civic body, a provision of Rs. 67.80 crore has been made under the head of development, against Rs. 73.81 crore in the previous year.

The civic body has clearly accepted its financial mismanagement in the current budget proposals. Against the provision of Rs. 73.81 crore made exclusively for development in the last budget, the corporation spent only 16.93 crore.

The civic body explained the failure on the pretext that it did not receive expected proceeds to the tune of Rs. 40 crore from land sales.

Replacing house tax with property tax from April 1, the corporation is expectant of realising an estimated Rs. 30 crore.

Introduction of property tax would play a decisive role in leasing a breath of life to the cash strapped civic body. Last year, the income accruing from the house tax was nearly 13.50 crore.

As last year, this year too, the body is heavily dependent upon the sale of land and other properties to bridge its deficit; Rs. 40 crore is expected from sale proceeds.

As per provisions made in the 2012-13 budget, the corporation was to collect Rs. 12 crore by way of charges levied for water supply and sewerage. Till the end of January, the body had managed to collect only Rs. 9.13 crore.

Against an expected income of Rs. 3 crore from advertisements, the body has managed to collect only Rs. 74.85 lakh.

But acting mayor (as previous mayor Jaspal Pardhan had resigned) Jagdish Rai Chaudhary has called it an extraordinary budget.

Congress leader in the house, Sanjeev Bittu, said it was a rudderless budget and was only an exercise in number crunching to puzzle the residents.

"Look at the provisions made for development last year. The corporation has managed to spend less than 20%. When the financial state of the body has gone from bad to worse, there is nothing much we can expect the body to do this year," he pointed out.

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