‘Flaws' in civic body budget

In a discussion peppered with political mudslinging, the opposition United Democratic Front councillors slammed the Corporation's budget for the coming financial year as an exercise in trickery and a fraud on the residents of the capital city.

Setting the tone for the Opposition's high-decibel denouncement of the budget, Congress leader Maheswaran Nair said almost all the development work being done by the Corporation these days is on the strength of money given either by the State or the Central governments.

Even though the government gave Rs.1 crore for vector control to curb the spread of dengue fever, the Corporation has not spent a single rupee for it. Though the civic body had earmarked Rs. 215 crore for sewage schemes, this fund too has not been spent. The Rs.24 crore received by the Corporation for solid waste management has not been spent. The closure of the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala is the end product of years of misrule by the Left Democratic Front, he charged. BJP councillor M.R. Gopan said the Corporation budget did not provide for setting up a sewage system for the panchayats that were added on to the Corporation. On the solid waste management front, the Corporation never had a system to check whether the Vilappil plant was functioning properly. Kunnukuzhi councillor Mary Pushpam said the panchayats added on to the Corporation were worse off then before, particularly in drinking water and power supply.

Former Mayor J. Chandra said almost all the roads in her ward were repaired using the Corporation's own funds. Various councillors who participated in the discussion urged the Corporation to buy an ambulance, set up a Mayor's Treatment Aid Fund and to purchase two or three road-sweeping machines.

The discussion on the budget would conclude on Wednesday.