Ambitious projects like a wax museum on the lines of Madame Tussaud’s and Mumbai’s answer to the London Eye will be delayed because the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which proposed them, is facing a cash crunch.
The BMC has decided to give priority to projects that fall under its mandatory duty of providing civic amenities. “Beautification projects like the wax museum and Mumbai Eye are considered as voluntary duty and not obligatory. So they can be postponed,” Acting Municipal Commissioner R A Rajeev said.
Other projects like theme parks, the textiles museum and heritage walks will also suffer, say civic officials.
The BMC is estimating a drop of 10 to 15 per cent in its revenue due to the economic slowdown and the burden of increased salary expenditure of its 1.1 lakh employees due to the sixth pay commission.
The civic budget for this fiscal year was Rs 19,000 crore. A major share of BMC's revenue comes from octroi charged on goods being brought into the city and property tax--both of which were hit by the economic slowdown.
This has forced the municipal corporation to prioritise its expenditure.
The BMC’s Chief Accountant (Finance) Ram Dhas issued a circular on October 26, to all departments saying no new projects be undertaken until old ones are completed. “The BMC should also avoid working on projects which are not the civic body’s obligatory duty,” the circular said.
Providing basic amenities like water supply, health services, garbage collection, education improving the city’s civic infrastructure are the BMC’s obligatory duties.
The BMC will also have to budget for water-related projects to tide over the water crisis in the city.
Rajeev said that the BMC will have to reduce unnecessary expenditure at the ward level by 25 per cent.
Other projects that will be affected are the beautification of Vihar lake, the Rs 40-crore redevelopment of Powai garden, construction, beautification and landscaping of major roads and traffic islands in the city and the suburbs at the cost of Rs 30.
Tourist attractions that the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance ruling the BMC wanted to showcase before the 2012 civic polls will be postponed.
However, Sena leaders are not worried. “All the beautification projects that we promised will be completed next year,” said standing committee Chairman Ravindra Waikar.