BMC keeps fist tight | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC keeps fist tight

mumbai Updated: Feb 04, 2010 01:14 IST
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The finance crunch that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is going through reflected in the disappointing budget for the fiscal year 2010-2011.

The budget was unveiled on Wednesday.

No new projects will be undertaken and a few projects such as concretising of roads, reconstruction of hospitals and underground parking lots at Crawford Market have been postponed.

The Mumbai Eye — to be built on the lines of London Eye -— does not find a mention in the list of projects planned for this year.

The budget of Rs 20,417 crore has shown an increase of merely 4 per cent in comparison to last year’s budget.

The BMC managed this increase by taking a loan of Rs 6,000 crore to compensate for the dip in octroi revenue and the increased burden of salaries revised salaries according to the Sixth Pay Commission.

The only highlight of the budget is the priority given to water supply augmentation projects with Rs 2,721 crore allotted to them.

This money will go towards projects such as the Gargai dam, replacement of old water mains and the ambitious Middle Vaitarna dam, which promises an additional 455 million litres of water every day.

The main reason for the BMC’s revenue crunch is the dip in octroi revenue by 10 per cent due to the economic slowdown.

Octroi and property tax are the BMC’s prime revenue-generating tools and contribute almost one-fifth of the annual civic budget.

Implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission this year has also increased the burden on the civic body’s annual revenue expenditure by Rs 1,800 crore.

“I have requested the head of the Departments to cut down on expenses which are unnecessary and to see to it that projects which are approved are completed without an increase in their costs,” said Municipal Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya.

Kshatriya said the BMC is contemplating an increase in octroi charges and considering undertaking pay scale revisions — according to the Sixth Pay Commission — once every 10 years instead of five.