Small, local-level, yet reformatory, development initiatives seem to be the theme of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) 2015-16 budget, once again.
Although the civic body has not floated any new, big-ticket infrastructure projects, Mumbai is expected to have 33 new gardens and playgrounds, more dry waste centres, pay-and-use toilets and rejuvenated rivers by next year.
Restructuring existing systems such as streamlining of construction permissions, drafting of a sanitation plan and proposal for regulation of hawkers have also found prominent space in the Rs 33,514.15-crore budget.
However, a major chunk of the budget will be spent on ongoing projects and basic priorities such as roads and water supply.
“Although we didn’t have many big projects planned, some such as the power generation plant at the Middle Vaitarna dam, which we have proposed, are equally significant,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner.
Entering the sphere of power generation for the first time, the civic body has allocated Rs 31 crore for a hydroelectric plant at the Middle Vaitarna dam site, which will generate 65 million units a year.
This, the BMC expects, will aid the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking and provide some financial relief.
Importance has also been given to improving the city’s environment — 33 new plots amounting to a total area of 2.23 lakh sqm will be developed into theme gardens or playgrounds, five rivers will be restored and waste disposal systems will be decentralised.
A provision of around Rs 21 crore has been made to set up decentralised waste processing plants, additional dry waste sorting centres, and to augment the existing ones.
“The idea is to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the dumping grounds. Such smaller interventions are valuable and will definitely make a positive contribution to the environment and health,” said Rishi Aggarwal, research fellow, Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.
The civic budget has proposed integrated development and restoration of Dahisar, Poisar, Vakola and Oshiwara rivers, along the lines of the Mithi River Rejuvenation Project.
Extending its reforms in information technology, a combined application form and an online platform has been proposed to integrate all the no-objection certificates (NOCs) required for new building constructions. The idea is to improve ease of doing business in the city and give a shot in the arm to rebranding the city as an international financial centre.