Concern over mounting salary bill
Total receipts are estimated at 110 croresEMC plans to spend Rs 4.75 crores for water supply
ELURU: The approval of the annual budget for 2007-08 by the Eluru Municipal Corporation (EMC) at a general body meeting on Wednesday was marked by a serious concern by a section of members over the increasing salary bill at the expense of development works. The exercise was also marked by protest from some members against the EMC's inability to pay salaries to its employees.
The EMC's total receipts, including the opening balance of Rs 4.52 crores, are estimated at 110 crores as against the expenditure of 109 crores. It is programmed to mop up a sum of Rs 7 crores under the head of property tax, Rs 1.20 crores by levying surcharge on stamp duty and Rs 14 crores from capital assets. The EMC has allocated Rs 14 crores for salaries to its employees as against its annual revenue of Rs 17 crores under the heads of tax collections and the `other receipts' together, inviting criticism from certain quarters. The EMC has planned to spend Rs 4.75 crores for improvement of water supply and underground drainage, Rs 1.7 crores for public health and Rs 74 lakhs for maintenance of streetlights.
The EMC has expected to receive a loan of Rs 5.75 crores under the Andhra Pradesh Urban Services for Poor (APUSP), a UK-aided project, a grant of Rs 54 crores under the Urban Infrastructure Development in Slums of Small Municipal Towns (UIDSSMT) for city development during the year.
Gunupudi Ravi, an independent member, criticised the EMC under the Congress ruling for lacking `forethought' to keep the corporation in good shape by containing the increasing salary bill. He said excess staff in the engineering section were receiving salaries for several months without work.
BJP member Kola Ramakrishna Kumari sought to know why the corporation employees had resorted to a novel protest by seeking alms on the Ugadi day as a token of protest against non-payment of salaries by the corporation when the latter had a surplus budget as presented at the council meeting.