Stress on service delivery improvement, infrastructural growth
The annual budget of the City Corporation, which is to be tabled on Saturday, is expected to be a balancing act between the several project allocations to be carried over from the past year and the new ones to be planned this year.
Deputy Mayor P.T. Abdul Latheef has quite a task on his hands as more than half of the developmental projects and schemes from the previous budget are pending.
Speaking to The Hindu on the eve of the budget presentation, Mr. Abdul Latheef said the thrust of the budget for 2013-14 will be on service delivery improvement and development of infrastructural facilities.
“The focus of the budget this year, as always, will be on the traditional functions and basic responsibilities of the local bodies, which include providing satisfactory service and basic infrastructure. e-governance projects will be the major agenda under service delivery improvement projects,” said the Deputy Mayor.
He said the Corporation was able to complete many long-pending projects such as the Lalithakala Akademi art gallery successfully during the previous financial year. “Also, many welfare schemes that were not mentioned in the budget were completed, which created more pressure on the allocations,” he said.
Mr. Latheef said the shifting of more responsibilities to the local bodies had also created extra burden on the budgetary allocations. “Earlier, we had to bear only the material costs of the project. Now, labour costs have been added to that,” he said.
The chairman of the standing committee on Public Works M. Mohanan said one of the major projects would be the automatic street-lighting system in the entire city, which was expected to provide significant savings in energy.
“Along with the implementation of the automatic system, metering of streetlights will also be implemented. The Corporation is planning to create more open grounds and is considering maintenance work on the existing ones. Another area of focus will be the creation of more parking lots. New comfort stations will also be constructed. Most of the city roads will come under the infrastructure improvement projects,” Mr. Mohanan said.
Leader of the Opposition M.T. Padma said that since most of the promises from the previous year had remained unfulfilled, the opposition did not have much expectation from this year’s budget.
“Most of the projects under all the heads are pending. Most of the basic needs of the public, including maintenance projects concerning water and electricity supply, have not been completed. The contractors for electricity works are yet to be given the payment for the projects completed in the previous years. So, even if new projects are planned without paying the outstanding amounts, they will not be taken up,” Ms. Padma said. incomplete