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Civic budget today: You may have to pay more for amenities

mumbai Updated: Mar 20, 2012 01:09 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
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After the hike in your rail and taxi fares, here’s some more bad news: You may have to pay more for civic services as well.

In the biggest ever civic budget, with an estimated outlay of more than Rs 25,000 crore, to be presented by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar on Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to hike the water tariff, and thus subsequently, your sewerage charges.

This, along with the impending imposition of the capital value-based property tax system which is likely to result in an increase in taxes for residents in new constructions and redeveloped buildings especially in the island city, will mean you will pay much more for civic services.

Along with the hike in civic taxes, the civic budget is likely emphasise on ongoing projects and plans, rather than announce any big-ticket projects. Insiders said the budget is likely to address issues of basic infrastructure.

The only exception that could might find a mention in the budget is a token provision for the ambitious coastal ring road project that Kumar has been working on.

A major chunk of the budget is likely to go into water supply projects, big-ticket projects such as the ongoing Middle Vaitarna dam project, the network of tunnels that the BMC plans to build and furthering the Gargai and Pinjal dam projects.

The civic chief is also likely to go in for a five-year long overhaul of the city’s water distribution network. He had asked every ward to submit details of the pipelines that need to be replaced in the next five years. This, insiders said, is one of the many strategies Kumar may announce to counter contamination of water.

Sources said Kumar may also embark on a long-term program concretise all city roads. The budget is likely to hike the funds allotted to the roads department from the current Rs892 crore to at least double the amount, sources added.

An official said the BMC’s new strategy is to partly concretise the road. The civic body may also make a budget provision of around Rs1000 crore towards revising the city’s development plan.

The Shiv Sena-BJP, meanwhile, said it is ready to counter the civic chief. Chairman of the standing committee, Rahul Shewale, said, “We will move amendments to the budget, if we are not satisfied with it.”