Development of slums, cleanliness, fire and emergency services, primary schools and a solid waste management system are the priorities of the Chandigarh municipal corporation, if the Rs 818-crore budget approved by the MC House for the next financial year is any indication.
Under the plan head, our elected representatives have budgeted Rs 348 crore, while under the non-plan head, the amount is Rs 470 crore.
The Congress, which is in the majority in the House called it a realistic budget, where the opposition termed it as a copy-paste job over several years.
However, with amounts unspent in some areas above 50%, MC commissioner Vivek Partap Singh had to clarify. “Even this year, I can say with certainty that the entire proposed amount will not be spent. This is because the budget is prepared hypothetically and there are legal constraints involved while executing it. For instance, we may propose certain amount for paying salaries to the doctors in the field of primary health, while the salaries may later on be given by the administration. The budget is an account statement made on broad terms. However, efforts are always made to utilise as much budget as possible.”
The mayor from the Congress Poonam Sharma, however, said no taxes and levies had been proposed for the year.
“Our priority will be to complete the pending projects this year like completion of multi-level parking, renovation of community centres, development of green belts and various others,” she said.
Bottom of the list
The next fiscal’s proposals also make no provision for significant amenities for the destitute, afforestation or shelters for stray animals.
House concerned over shrinking parking spaces
Rising above party lines, coucillors raised the growing problem of finding a space to park vehicles in markets and residential areas. Most councillors asked officials to allocate funds to tackle the problem under the non-plan head. Former mayor, Pardeep Chhabra said, in Sector 22, one of his acquaintances was paying Rs 1,000 per month as rent to park his car in somebody else’s house. “We need to look at constructing more parking lots and underground parking in residential areas.” Mayor Poonam Sharma said in the house that one underpass at ISBT, Sector 17, will be constructed by the end of the year.
Mayors’ gift to mothers
One of the new schemes proposed is giving monetary benefit to new-born babies and their mothers at the government hospitals, especially the girl child, and also giving them kits, nutrition and diet etc. firstname.lastname@example.org