The civic budget for the year 2011-12 is taking a shape under new municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar. He has already started having meetings on the budget with senior civic officials.
Senior officials, who have met with Kumar say that looking at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) financial health, the civic chief feels funds should be budgeted for developmental projects rather that superficial beautification works.
Kumar is known to manage finances well. He had bailed the BMC out of a looming financial crisis when he was the additional municipal commissioner between 1999-2001. In 2000, the civic body had a deficit of about Rs 644 crore, which Subodh Kumar successfully reduced by Rs 250 crore in just one year.
A senior civic official said he was taking keen interest in projects and updating them. “He indicated he has already planned not to allow variation proposals (projects involving cost escalation),” he said on the condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
In the last two years, the civic body has cleared proposals – where project costs have been hiked post initial budgeting – worth Rs 2,500 crore. Sources said the civic body was likely to even budget payment to contractors for their work for the current year only next year.
Mayor Shraddha Jadhav said, “He will not allow variation proposals, but I am sure he will not halt development work.”