Kochi Corporation budget shows a surplus of Rs. 16 crore

Ensuring private participation in development schemes to overcome financial constraints and widening the tax net to increase the revenue collection seems to be the financial mantra of the Kochi Corporation for the year ahead.

Realising that the Corporation alone cannot implement the development projects with its own limited resources, the Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra, who presented the budget at the council hall on Tuesday, listed out several projects which are to be implemented on Private-Public-Participation mode.

The civic authorities plan to increase the revenue collection by way of re-fixing the rent of its buildings, streamlining the tax collection including the professional tax, revision of property tax and collection of tax arrears from the central and state government buildings. The Corporation also hopes to collect considerable amount from the regularisation charges and fine to be slapped on unauthorised constructions in the city. It was also pointed out that the property tax was not revised in the city for the last 17 years.

During the fiscal, the finance managers of the corporation expect a revenue of Rs. 757,73,99,388, spending of Rs. 731,93,30,660 and a surplus of Rs. 16,77,66,988. The budget proposes to redraft the master plan of Kochi, so as to include the developmental requirements of Kochi city and the civic bodies in the Cochin urban agglomerate. The civic body also hopes to obtain the service of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, for preparing the new document.

Lost assets

The budget document admitted that many properties and assets of the civic body had been encroached upon by individuals and no significant steps were initiated in the past for its recovery. The Deputy Mayor also conceded that rent was not paid or the properties returned in case of some properties of the Kochi Corporation which were given on long-term lease. The formation of a special squad which would include legal advisers also has been promised in the budget for the realisation of the assets of the Corporation.

Squads would also focus on either collecting the rent or restoring the properties which were given on long term lease. The non-performing assets of the Kochi Corporation at key business centres will be converted into revenue sources and the civic body hopes to raise Rs. 2 crore from this head. The formation of a City Development Fund has been proposed to tap resources from private agencies and public sector companies.

The formation of the Unified Metropolitan Authority for addressing the traffic woes of the city, road development schemes using modern technologies, upgradation of the existing facilities of the municipal solid waste treatment plant, construction of new sewage treatment plants including mini sewage plants and anti-mosquito programmes with the support of the Vector Control research Institute, Pondicherry, are some of the highlights of the annual budget.

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