Ahead of civic polls, Rawat govt releases Rs 138.55 crore for development in urban areas | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Ahead of civic polls, Rawat govt releases Rs 138.55 crore for development in urban areas

Finance minister Prakash Pant says funds were released for urban local bodies in compliance with the statutory condition that they would ensure at least 10% increase in their receipts and resources. “It is necessary that urban local bodies become economically independent. That is why it has been mandatory for them to increase their receipts and resources.”

dehradun Updated: Dec 30, 2017 20:30 IST
Deep Joshi
Finance minister Prakash Pant  said the package was released as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.
Finance minister Prakash Pant said the package was released as per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.(HT File Photo)

DEHRADUN: In what is being seen as a move aimed at wooing the people ahead of the urban local body (ULB) polls due early next year, the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led BJP government has released a package of Rs 138.55 crore for development in urban areas.

“We have released a fund of Rs 138.55 crore which will be spent in giving a boost to the basic infrastructure like roads, sewerage network in areas falling in urban local bodies,” finance minister Prakash Pant said, referring to a related order issued by the BJP government on Friday.

“The package was released as per the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. Besides, the remaining amount of Rs 550 crore has also been released by the state finance commission, which would be disbursed among ULB employees as salaries and pensions.”

Pant said funds were released for urban local bodies in compliance with the statutory condition that they would ensure at least 10% increase in their receipts and resources. “It is necessary that ULBs become economically independent. That is why it has been mandatory for them to increase their receipts and resources.”

According to him, funds would give a boost to infrastructure in urban local bodies, which would come into existence following the ongoing process of merger of most of the rural areas with the fast expanding urban areas. The BJP government’s step to release funds though is being seen as a political move as it came just four months ahead of the ULB polls likely to be held in April.

But Pant made light of the issue saying the people were free to view the move to release the funds at this stage as they wished to. “Everybody is entitled to their views…but the fact is that funds were released to give a boost to infrastructure in urban areas,” he said, adding that the fund release was part of a normal process.

“Developments funds are released for urban local bodies during this period every year. So, the step should not be judged from political angle. Besides, the polls are still some four months away.”

Analysts, however, see in the government’s decision to release development funds a political move. “This (BJP) government has released development funds when hardly four months are left for the polls,” said Prof MC Sati of HNB Garhwal University. According to him, not enough time is left to implement development projects in areas under urban local bodies. “Clearly, the government has released the funds with an eye on votes.”