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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Tax hikes proposed in Pune’s ₹6,085 crore draft budget

Civic chief has proposed 12% hike in property tax and 15% hike in water tax in draft budget for 2019-20

pune Updated: Jan 18, 2019 14:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Mukta Tilak (extreme left), mayor, and Saurabh Rao (second from right), Pune municipal commissioner, at the Pune Municipal corporation on Thursday.
Mukta Tilak (extreme left), mayor, and Saurabh Rao (second from right), Pune municipal commissioner, at the Pune Municipal corporation on Thursday.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)
         

A 12 per cent hike in property tax and 15 per cent hike in water tax has been proposed by the Pune municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao in his draft budget of ₹6,085 crore for the year 2019-20.

Rao, who presented the draft budget before the general body on Thursday, however, failed to specify the other revenue sources for the budget.

The elected members will now take a call on the hikes proposed by the civic chief.

The commissioner handed over the draft budget to mayor Mukta Tilak and standing committee chairman Yogesh Mulik. The final budget will now be drawn up by Mulik and will be presented before the house before March 31.

The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) annual budget for the year 2018-19 was ₹5,870 crore and with just three months left for the end of the financial year, preliminary estimates suggest that the PMC is unlikely to get more than ₹4,000 crore revenue by the end of the financial year. Given this sharp deficit in revenue, the draft budget is being viewed as impractical.

When the issue of deficit in revenue was raised by the media, the civic chief replied that the administration is in the process of collecting more taxes and dues.

Rao accepted that there was a fall in revenue from every sector which was targeted in the year 2018-19. As of December 2018, PMC was able to generate just ₹3,054 crore revenue which is far less than the target of ₹5,870 crore. Administrative sources accepted that in the last three months, the target set was unlikely to be achieved and just about ₹1,000 crore would come in additionally.

Rao did not introduce any new projects for Pune and has given priority to completing ongoing projects, including the Metro, 24x7 water scheme, cycle tracks and river rejuvenation project.

₹40 crore allocation for 7th pay commission

With the central and state governments having implemented the 7th pay commission, the municipal commissioner Saurabh Rao has made a budgetary provision of ₹40 crore for its implementation in the civic body. Administrative sources confirmed that as per rule, the salary ratio in the municipal corporation should not be more than 30 per cent of the total income. However, the commissioner inflated the budget up to ₹6,085 crore to ensure that the 30 per cent limit is not crossed after the 7th pay commission’s hike in salary.

Credit bonds to boost land acquisition of HCMTR

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is planning to introduce credit bonds for executing high capacity mass transit route (HCMTR) which is known as the inner ring road. Saurabh Rao, municipal commissioner has assured to execute HCMTR in the next three years.

Rao said that PMC had made the budgetary provision of ₹211 crore for HCMRT in the financial year 2019-20. Even PMC is planning to introduce credit bond for the same. PMC is working in a way that there would not need to invest civic body’s money in this project. Instead of paying funds for acquiring land, PMC will give credit notes to the landowners. The landowners or developers would use these notes with PMC in future instead of paying for building permissions.

This project would need Rs 5,096 crore funds out of which Rs1550 crore will be needed for land acquisition. The HCMTRs length is 36 km and the entire road will be elevated. It would have 6 lanes and two will be dedicated for Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). Even PMC is planning to raise cycle tracks along this road.

The standing committee of PMC had appointed a financial consultant for HCMTR project.

The road structure will include an elevated road, connecting various parts of the city. It is expected to help reduce traffic congestion in the city. The road will connect Bopodi, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Senapati Bapat road, Paud phata, Karve road, Dattawadi, Sarasbaug, Shankar Sheth road, Nehru road, Lullanagar, Ramwadi, Mundhwa, Vimannagar and Vishrantwadi.

HCMTR was planned and charted out 30 years ago. The main purpose of the road was to act as a ring road, but the civic body was unable to execute it due to various reasons. Now, PMC has finally decided to go ahead with the project and construct the HCMTR, which will also be known as the inner ring road.

HCMTR will be completely elevated and the route will be 36km in length, with a width of 24km. For implementing the project, 77 hectares is required, and out of it, 35 hectares are already in PMC’s possession. The remaining land is owned by private parties.

The PMC had included HCMTR in its development plan in 1987.