With financial constraints and legal tangles delaying the execution of several major projects, the city Corporation’s Rs.1,077.63-crore budget for the financial year 2014-15, presented by Deputy Mayor G. Happy Kumar at a Council meeting here on Friday, looks almost like a rewind of the previous year’s budget.
Public infrastructure projects and welfare schemes, most of which are Centrally funded, have the maximum outlay.
The meeting started off with the expected ruckus, as Opposition councillors occupied the well of the hall and shouted slogans when Mayor K. Chandrika began her introductory speech. The protest was against the ‘inability of the ruling party to complete a majority of projects from the past year.’ In the previous year, though Rs.1,076 crore was the initial outlay, the civic body managed to spend only Rs.635.35 crore.
The Corporation has yet again demanded power to grant Tender Rate Excess in case of construction projects that overshoot the estimate. Mr. Happy Kumar said the civic body could finish many more projects in time if it were to be given this power, which entities such as the Public Works Department and Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority already possess.
The revenue collection is expected to be improved this year using a Geographic Information System (GIS)-mapping facility to prepare a database. The collection of pending building tax from Union government institutions and buildings in Technopark is expected to push up the revenue from this head to Rs.90 crore.Roads
An amount of Rs.50 crore has been allocated to improve roads in the Corporation area. The Rs.1-crore project to build multi-level parking lots and a convention centre project with increased allocation of Rs.75 lakh have been carried over from last year. The model market project to modernise Manacaud, Palayam, Chala, Sreekaryam and Mannanthala markets has an allocation of Rs.5 crore.
A permanent market for Kudumbasree products will be set up at the Saphalyam Complex, Palayam.
Among the slew of housing schemes, the ‘Santhosha Sadanam’ project to build houses for 900 beneficiaries and providing basic infrastructure for applicants in the general category has an outlay of Rs.23 crore. The slum-free capital project, which is already being executed in the Kannammoola Bund Colony and Karimadam Colony, has an increased outlay of Rs.50 crore, from last year’s Rs.10 crore. The Corporation plans to set up a de-addiction centre at a cost of Rs.15 lakh.Housing schemes
In projects for Scheduled Castes, the Ambedkar housing project has been carried over with an increased outlay of Rs.15 crore. The Ambedkar higher education training centre to train Scheduled Caste students will be set up at a cost of Rs.1 crore.
The ‘padikkuka uyaruka’ project to buy study tables and chairs for Scheduled Caste students has an outlay of Rs.40 lakh.