The meeting on fund reallocation was supposed to happen in December
The Kochi Corporation council on Monday decided to meet again on Tuesday to finalise reallocation of funds from abandoned projects and savings from tender and spillover projects bill of the current financial year.
The meeting of Mayor, Deputy Mayor, working groups heads, development committee head and Opposition leader will decide on portioning out funds anew to projects that could be completed within 2 months. The meeting on fund reallocation was supposed to happen in December so that there was enough breather before the financial year ends.
Some of the new projects for which the savings could be utilised are Ernakulam market renovation, mobile laboratory for elderly, financial aid for cancer patients and dialysis for kidney patients, maintenance of Ravipuram crematorium, ICU in Government Taluk hospital, 19 maintenance works for anganwadis, seven projects for SC/ST welfare and about ten road works in various divisions.
At the council, the councillors were almost united in opposing the move to divert more than half of Rs. 1 crore allocated for buying medicines for the poor in hospitals towards infrastructure works in hospitals. Members of the Opposition questioned standing committee chairman (health) T. K. Ashraf, who tried to defend the proposal to reallocate Rs. 55 lakh towards building an Intensive Care Unit in the Fort Kochi hospital.
Councillors M.P. Mahesh Kumar, K. J. Sohan and others led the tirade against diverting funds meant for medicines to civil works. Rs. 1 crore was too low for medicines, said the councillors. They sought clarification from chief medical officers in various hospitals on how much fund was needed for medicines. There have been many instances when the poor had to buy from outside because of lack of medicines in the hospital, the councillors said.
Mayor Tony Chammany said a note would be prepared on hospitals’ requirement of medicines.
A councillor told The Hindu how large chunks of funds were being used for civil works while welfare projects that benefit people get little.