The city’s stature as the biggest revenue generator for the State is not reflected in Finance Minister K. M. Mani’s 11 Budget, which has only a single big project for Kochi. The city’s lone hope in the 2013-14 Budget is the Rs. 1,000-crore Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-aided 200 mld water supply project to meet drinking water needs.
The Budget has little allotment for the ambitious Kochi Metro Rail project and no specific plans for widening or improving roads and buildings or constructing over-bridges and flyovers in Kerala’s business capital.
V.D. Satheesan, MLA, said that the Budget lacked a regional balance and that the only major proposal for Kerala’s city of the future was the drinking water project.
K.N. Marzook, chairman of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, criticised the Budget for its large dose of doles.
There is a lot of charity but no measure to encourage trade, to widen tax net and to improve infrastructure in Kochi, which contributed nearly Rs. 11,000 crore to the State exchequer during the current financial year, said Mr. Marzook. The Budget has failed to take note of the pressing needs of the city and the city administrators hope that the Finance Minister will be more generous with the city even though no significant allocation has been made for Kochi.
The Budget is silent on rail overbridge at Atlantis and the development of Thammanam-Pullepady road, two of the most-awaited projects in the city.
There is also great disappointment over lack of any proposal or allocation for waste treatment in Kochi.
Land acquisition for these two infrastructure projects would require at least Rs. 150 crore. However, the Budget is silent on these, said Mayor Tony Chammany. Silence of the Budget on the feeder projects for the metro rail project is another aspect that worries him.
Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra, who is preparing to present her second Budget for the Kochi Corporation, was apprehensive about her Budget proposals getting shelved for want of State support.
K.J. Jacob, leader of the CPI(M) in the council, said that many of the city’s dream projects would have to be dropped as the State has failed to extend Budgetary support.