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Some more care, please

K. Sukumaran
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K. Sukumaran looks at the fund allocation pattern for the city’s infrastructure in the 2013-14 BBMP budget

The Karnataka Government has accorded approval for the BBMP budget for the financial year 2013-14 with a token cut of Rs 23.72 lakh, reducing the outlay to Rs. 8,497.38 crore. Let us have a look into this budget from the citizen’s point of view.

It is customary for the BBMP to formulate its annual budget detailing the income it proposes to garner from various sources such as property taxes, profession tax, cess, receipts from hoardings put up by advertisers etc ,and the expenditure for building infrastructure for the city’s growth as also for the maintenance of roads and related infrastructure.

The BBMP has statutory powers to levy various charges on the citizens who enjoy the facilities provided by it, but the Palike depends on substantial grants from the State Government, which in turn, get certain allocations from the Central Government for schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

In this year’s budget, the major income projected is from property tax (Rs. 3,200 crore) and major expenditure is for infrastructure (Rs. 4,534 crore ). The latter includes ongoing projects and some new ones, apart from maintenance of roads, footpaths, drains etc.

Major ongoing and

new projects

Roads - asphalting of select roads (Rs. 300 crore), maintenance of flyovers and bridges (Rs. 20 crore), development of footpaths (Rs. 54 crore), skywalks with lifts and escalators at Hudson Circle and Mysore Bank Circle (Rs. 28.5 crore); underbridge at Magadi Road-Basaveshwaranagar junction (Rs. 15 crore); grade separators at Rajajinagar-Chord Road and Vatal Nagaraj Road junction, 41st Cross & junction of Shivanagar 8th Main Road and Basaveshwaranagar Main Rd; Maramma Circle junction, Rajajinagar 10th Cross (Rs. 54 crore); signal-free corridors between Dr. Rajkumar Rd and Okkalipuram, Hosur Lashkar Rd to Central Silk Board junction, Mekhri circle to Hope farm, HAL Airport Rd to Kundalahalli junction, (Rs. 213 crore); construction of new railway bridges/overbridges (Rs. 10 crore); road widening in newly added zones (Rs. 475) crore; and stormwater drains (Rs. 660 )crore.

Criticism

The major criticisms of the budget include: Estimation of income without co-relation to last year’s earnings, and non-alignment with cluster programmes for Ramanagaram, Nelamangala, Doddaballapur, Hoskote, Devanahalli, Bommasandra etc., approved by the Union Department of Economic Affairs, Govt of India recently.

A survey conducted by ‘Janaagraha’ points out that special approach to outer wards has not done justice to the newly added wards.

Treating inner and outer wards on separate footing has also attracted adverse comments.

Population of outer wards has actually more than doubled, but proportionate increase in budgetary expenditure is wanting.

The study has also revealed meagre allocation of one per cent and even less than that to footpaths and lakes/trees. Allocation of 7.8 per cent for stormwater drains, 4.9 per cent for public amenities, and 2.8 per cent for garbage disposal is too meagre, compared to the enormity of the problems.


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