24X7 water supply, better public transport: What Mumbaiites want from BMC’s budget
This year’s civic budget is expected to focus on civic amenities and administrative reforms in Mumbai.mumbai Updated: Feb 01, 2018 09:51 IST
With the civic budget set to be announced on Friday, a day after the Union budget, HT asked Mumbaiites what they expect from the country’s richest municipal corporation this year. Almost all responses highlighted the need for special attention to basic amenities such a round-the-clock supply of clean drinking water, well-maintained sidewalks, and environment-friendly surroundings.
Like last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may allocate around Rs25,000 crore in its budget. However, this year’s budget is expected to focus on civic amenities and administrative reforms.
“The corporation earns a lot from property tax and electricity tariffs. It also gets state funds. So, it should be able to afford all the amenities it promises,” Hansel D’souza of Juhu Citizens’ Welfare Group.
Daryl D’monte, head of Carter Road Residents’ Association, said the civic body should focus on public transport. “The major flaw in the civic budget is the money allocated for the big-ticket coastal road project. This project will only cater to a small portion of the population — those who have cars,” he said.
The civic budget 2018-19 may not announce new infrastructure projects, new taxes or even increase in the current taxes, according to sources in the BMC. Happy with this news, citizens said pending projects should be completed first.
The BMC’s departmental allocations — mainly roads, solid waste management and stormwater drains — are likely to face cuts. While Malkani said the more money should be spent on developing decentralised waste management systems, Madhu Poplai of Pali Hill Residents’ Association said the department has wound up saving money afterhousing societies began segregating and processing their own waste.
“The societies managing large amounts of waste should get tax cuts,” she said. She added that the BMC should hire new contractors or those with higher bids, instead of hiring the lowest bidders, who then fail to deliver.
Urban development experts lauded the civic body’s move to include the development plan in the budget this year, saying that implementing the DP as a project would make the process more transparent.
“The efficiency of the budget should also be presented with its allocations. This will tell citizens what has been achieved in the past financial year,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja foundation, a non-partisan organisation, which works towards bringing in accountability and transparency in governance.