Even as district panchayat vice-president Bindu George is set to present her second straight budget on Thursday, many of the ambitious projects she had declared in the last budget remain on paper, either for want of appropriate sanction or lack of funds.
Education was one of the focus areas of the first budget for 2011-12 presented by the ruling United Democratic Front, which enjoys a majority of 22 members against four members of the Left Democratic Front.
The budget had declared that infrastructure of 55 schools controlled by the district panchayat would be improved at par with management schools, while setting apart Rs.23 crore for construction of school buildings and Rs.1 crore for improving lab facilities.
Ms. George told The Hindu that except for the work in a couple of schools, nothing much could be done owing to a lack of funds.
‘School at finger tips,' touted as a flagship project of the district panchayat for compiling the data of all schools and informing parents of the day-to-day activities of their children, had to be dropped altogether after the Education Department was found engaged in a similar initiative.
A modern waste treatment plant proposed in the budget in association with Piravom grama panchayat at an estimated cost of Rs.50 lakh remains on the backburner.
Grameena Museum project costing Rs.1 crore for setting up museums in rural schools in association with the National Museum Institute in Delhi and Austrian Cultural Forum, the project for drafting a cultural repository of the district at Rs.7 lakh, the Rs.10 lakh-project for setting up sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators in schools, and the project for organising young literary gatherings for which Rs.4 lakh was allocated were denied sanction by the State Level Technical Committee.
The proposed e-krishi project for making available agriculture-related information to farmers over the Internet at an estimated cost of Rs.5 lakh could not be taken up. The budgetary promise to replace the existing seven harvesting machines found unsuitable did not happen.
The women retail network and power laundry for self-employment of women and e-toilet for women for which Rs.20 lakh and Rs.27.50 lakh were allocated were among the other projects which proved to be non-starters.
Senior member of the Opposition M.B. Syamanthabhadran told The Hindu that the Opposition had regarded the budget unrealistic and questioned the source of income as soon as it was passed. “It was ludicrous for a district panchayat to pass a budget envisaging an income of Rs.614 crore. At the most it could have presented a Rs.100 crore budget including the Central and State government-backed projects for which the district panchayat is an implementing agency,” he said.