Alappuzha municipality vice chairman, B. Ansari presented the surplus budget for 2012-13 with revenue of Rs. 133.01 crore including carryover from last year and an expenditure of Rs. 132.61 crores.

Presenting the budget, Mr. Ansari said that the municipality which was finding it difficult to meet its daily expenses, proposes to raise its revenue by taxing the houseboats, collecting the tax on timber and by constructing building complexes and apartments in plots owned by the municipality. The municipality has no other option than to solve its financial crisis for ushering in development activities. He also presented the revised budget of 2011-12.

The budget has earmarked Rs. 25 crore for various building constructions, Rs. 20 crore for the construction of apartment at municipality at Sethu Parvathi Bhai in Punnapra, Rs. 10 crore for an entertainment complex at the Alappuzha beach, Rs. 50 lakh each for the private bus stand in Alappuzha, re-construction of the municipal building complex opposite district court, construction of Valiyakulam and Kochinichudukad shopping complexes and Rs. 60 lakh for the Vellakkinar commercial shopping complex with private partnership.

A bio-gas plant at Rs. 2 crore with State Government assistance, Rs. 2.25 crore for total sanitation project involving 1500 houses selected from the wards, Rs. 3.12 crore for roads in 52 wards of the municipality, Rs. 1.44 crore for paddy cultivation in a number of paddy polders and Rs.. 1.1 crore for new buildings in Muhammadans Boys and Girls Schools, Aryad GHS, SDV Girls and Boys schools have been proposed.

The Budget has also allotted Rs. 1.25 crore for constructing apartment for SC\ST communities, Rs. 10 lakh for setting up girls-friendly toilets in schools, Rs.. 15 lakh for Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant at Punnamada finishing point. Other proposals include starting of special school, introduction of computers in Anganawadis, starting cultivation in fallow lands as part of total fallow land –free town project, a waste processing plant for houseboats, high mast lights at major points like Kommadi, Kalarkode and Kaichoondi junction and sports hostel with help from State Government.

A repetition of previous budgets, says opposition

The leader of the opposition in the municipal council, Thomas Joseph has alleged that the budget was a repeating the projects in the previous budgets. “It is the worst budget in the history of the municipality,” he said. Some of the council members of the UDF demanded that the budget be sent back to finance standing committee and reworked. B. Mehboob,UDF municipal councillor said that the budget was `a gimmick to fool’ the residents of the town. “Even 25 per cent of the projects mentioned in the 2011-12 budget has not been implemented,” he alleged.

However, the parliamentary party leader of the ruling LDF, V.G. Vishnu termed the budget as one that touches all the sectors in the Alappuzha town and the concerns of all its people. He challenged the opposition UDF to present an alternate budget instead of criticizing it for mere political reasons. “The tax proposed on houseboats will lead to a series of legal battles, but it would be asserting the municipality’s rights under the Panchayati Raj Act,” he said.

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