Two days after the civic chief Subodh Kumar made a not-so-veiled attempt to display his desire to let the civic body build his pet coastal freeway project, the ruling Shiv Sena has taken the cue and decided to amend the budget to make a provision for the project. Kumar had, in his speech, spoken of the need to expand the civic body’s sources of income to fund projects such as the coastal freeway.
Sources close to Kumar said by making this statement, he was hinting at his desire to let the civic body build the project. Although Kumar, also the head of the state-appointed joint technical committee, fell short of making a token budgetary provision for the project, the Sena has decided to do so.
Both these developments show the civic body’s newfound aggression in wanting to bag big-ticket projects, after having been snubbed by other agencies in the race to bag infrastructure projects in the city.
Confirming the move, Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman said, “We were hoping that the BMC chief would have made a budgetary provision for the project in his budget. However, since he has not, we will go ahead and make a provision for the project. We are very keen to do the project and have no qualms in letting the state know.”
According to the rules of the corporation, after the BMC chief presents the budget, the standing committee has to approve it, after deliberations. Accordingly, the committee also has the power to make amendments to the budget, which will have to be accepted by the commissioner.
Kumar justified his reference to the civic body handling the project. “We did not make any budget provision for the project because the state is yet to award it to any agency. However, I want to make sure that the BMC is capable of handling a project as big as this. Hence, we have tried to strengthen its financial position.”
Shewale said the civic body, with its engineers and resources, was just as capable of handling the project. “Most other agencies would outsource the work, while we have a vast pool of talented engineers, who could be utilised for a project as big as this.”