Standing committee seeks clarity on sale of bonds by Mumbai civic body
Slamming the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its plan to raise funds through bonds for its infrastructure projects, members of the standing committee on Wednesday demanded that a status report on the entire plan be submitted to the committee. Corporators of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) said that the civic administration cannot bring in such a crucial policy without getting approval from the standing committee.
Rais Shaikh, SP leader who raised a point of order on the subject, said, “The civic body must disclose how much financial deficit there is since they are raising funds from the market. They need to submit a white paper to the committee on the same.”
The BMC had recently decided to raise funds by floating infrastructure bonds owing to the financial trouble it faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A senior civic official confirmed that the BMC has planned to float municipal bonds and raise ₹4,000 crore to fund infra projects. “The plan is to raise money from the market and fund major infrastructure projects in the future. The policy has not been finalised, and everything about it is still under consideration,” the official said.
In Wednesday’s committee meeting, members demanded that the administration submit a detailed planned report on the bonds and its budget. Prabhakar Shinde, BJP leader, said, “The ruling party and the administration should stop such gimmicks and involve public representatives in crucial policies like these. There has been a lack of clarity on the income and expenditure related to Covid-19 and the representatives are being kept in the dark about the BMC’s finances.”
Echoing Shinde’s view, Vishaka Raut of the ruling Shiv Sena, said, “The standing committee is a financial body of the BMC, and it is surprising that the administration is not taking the committee into consideration. The opinion of the public representatives needs to be there in key-policy decisions. A status report of the BMC’s finances needs to be submitted to the committee.”