No lessons learnt: Of Rs 5 cr for schools, Chandigarh MC spends just a lakh
With just three months to go for the end of the fiscal year, the MC has spent less than 44% of the Rs 339 crore allocated for capital expenditure. The total capital budget approved was Rs 419 crore.punjab Updated: Jan 12, 2018 10:52 IST
It’s planning already for the budget for 2018-19, but the municipal corporation of Chandigarh fails to correct an annual wrong -- that of not even spending what it gets! Sample this: Of the Rs 5 crore it got for the schools it runs, it has spent only Rs 1 lakh (that is, 0.2%) till December 31. And that’s actually an improvement. Last time it did not spend a paisa out of the Rs 5 crore it got in the same period.
The MC runs 13 primary schools — while the rest of the 114 schools are under the administration’s education department — and most of these need repairs and more staff.
Overall, with just three months to go for the end of the fiscal year, the MC has spent less than 44% (Rs 148 crore) of the Rs 339 crore allocated for capital expenditure. The total capital budget approved was Rs 419 crore.
On the health front, the MC has spent only Rs 1 crore of the allocated Rs 8 crore for the 20 dispensaries its runs out of the 27 that Chandigarh has. Most of these too need renovation and are short of staff. Last time, too, the MC spent only Rs 70 lakh of the allocated Rs 15 crore for primary health centres in the same period.
The MC has not shown any interest in improving the fire department either, having spent only Rs 1 crore of the Rs 30 crore allocated for it. In the 2016-17 fiscal too, the MC spent only Rs 41 lakh of Rs 33 crore till December 31, 2016. There is no movement on the proposal to construct fire stations in Sectors 1, 48 and 52. For two years now, 10 fire vehicles remain redundant due to want of tyres; and employees have not got uniforms. In March 2013, the MC House approved to purchase a 61-metre hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladder worth Rs 10 crore at the time, but it has failed to float tenders. And there is no permanent chief fire officer for a decade now.
Mayor Davesh Moudgil, who got the annual rolling chair just this week, said, “I am hopeful of bringing in a realistic budget this time. As far as primary education is concerned, the administration has handed over departments to the MC but not the powers. We have requested them to either take the department back or give us all powers. Similar is the case with primary health.”
Saurav Mishra, additional commissioner, MC, simpy said he had not seen the details, “but still we have three more months and many things are planned”. “We are hopeful of spending the maximum budget.”
Commenting, activist RK Garg said, “The MC needs to use its budget, and have some proper, long-term planning.”