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Unkept promises

india Updated: Feb 03, 2009 01:18 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times
Unkept promises

Every time your tap runs dry, know that the civic body had allotted Rs 1,600 crore for the Middle Vaitarna project, which could add 455 million litres of water to tanks every day. This plan has been stuck for eight years.

As for the city’s garbage woes, the Rs 800-crore Kanjurmarg dumping ground project has been stuck for over five years.

It is the time of the year to draw up the civic body’s report card.

As Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak prepares to show the city taxpayers another set of dreams of a ‘global’ Mumbai in the annual civic budget, Hindustan Times has found that many of the plans charted every year never leave the drawing board.

The civic budget, guessed to be over Rs 17,000 crore this year, will dedicate over half of its estimate, almost Rs 8,000 crore, towards gigantic projects that will claim to change the face of the city.

However, it is seen that only 65 per cent of the civic funds are spent on an average.

As per the records of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, in 2005-06 only 71.9 per cent of the allocated Rs 1,190.74 crore was spent. In 2006-07, it went down to 65.14 per cent of Rs 1,946.44 crore, while in 2007-08 the expenditure was just 62.46 per cent of the allocated Rs 2,220.66 crore.

This year, the amount has is yet below 50 per cent, and with a month to go for the end of the financial year, it is expected to reach just about reach average.

“There is no deliberate attempt to make tall claims in a budget. We plan for everything and hope to complete most of the projects. However, many of them get stuck due to government procedures, environment clearances, court cases, public protests or even administrative delays,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects) Anil Diggikar, who has charted out the budget provisions for projects to take off in 2009-2010.

Ram Dhas, chief accountant, BMC, said this is the way it works everywhere in the country. “We anticipate that some projects to take off in two-three months, but unfortunately they get stuck. But in most cases we do not scrap them, but carry them forward hoping it would take off the next year.”