G.V.R. Subba Rao

VIJAYAWADA: The finances of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) are apparently weighed down by an unending delay in release of funds by the State Government. The Corporation is anxiously waiting for more than Rs. 115 crores that is due from the Government.

The Government has, in recent past, not released some of the funds that are due to the Corporation under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) as also the other grants. While grants account for Rs. 14.52 crores over the last four quarters, JNNURM funds alone are to the tune of a staggering Rs. 100 crores.

Official sources indicate that the grants due to the Corporation include professional tax compensation, property tax compensation and motor vehicle tax compensation. While professional tax compensation is more than Rs. 14.09 crores, property tax compensation would be around Rs. 34 lakhs and motor vehicle tax compensation Rs.9 lakhs.

Also, the State Government has retained and not released so far the share of the Centre as well as its own share of funds under JNNURM. Of the Rs. 56-crore works taken up under the two sub-missions of JNNURM – Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) and Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG), the Central Government had released its share of Rs. 46 crores to the State Government a couple of months ago.

The State Government neither released the Centre’s share not its own share of Rs. 10 crores so far, though Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu and others drew Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s attention to the issue during his last visit to the city. In addition, the Centre recently sanctioned Rs. 45 crores for housing projects, which would have to be released to the Corporation. All these dues would cross Rs.100 crores.

The Corporation officials are also waiting for release of about Rs.18 crores which they had spent from their general funds for JNNURM works, anticipating release by the State Government at the earliest.

The officials agree that “it’s not all pink” in the next couple of months, as far as finances are concerned. When the funds were not released in time, it would have a cascading effect on the regular Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the Corporation and also general works like road repairs. The Corporation requires at least Rs. 12 crores a month towards O&M, which includes outgo on salaries of employees, wages of workers and payment of electricity bills. In addition, the VMC spends Rs. 18 crores to Rs. 20 crores every month on various JNNURM works, sources say.

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