Staff Reporter

TDP, Left parties stage walkout terming the budget ‘imaginary'

Mayor asserts that the budget has been prepared realistically

VIJAYAWADA: The general body of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation on Wednesday approved the budget for 2010-11 with an estimated revenue of Rs. 1,220.27 crores and expenditure of Rs. 1,211.67 crores, but not before the combined opposition of the TDP and the Left parties staged a walkout. Only the Congress members completed the formality.

The special session of the general body convened for passing the budget was marred by protests from the word go. Even as Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu began reading out the draft budget for 2010-11, corporators of the TDP and the CPI (M) raised slogans and staged a walkout calling it an “imaginary budget”. The CPI corporators expressed their resentment by listening to the speech with flowers in their ears.

Ms. Ratna Bindu asserted that the budget was prepared “realistically” while keeping in mind the overall development of the city. She projected Rs.958.16 crores as capital expenditure and Rs.187.33 crores as revenue expenditure.

“In addition to the regular development programmes, we have allocated Rs. 823 crores under JNNURM to complete 19 projects under implementation,” Ms. Ratna Bindu said.

She, however, expressed concern over the VMC's inability to gather revenues during the last one year due to global economic slowdown. The development of the city slowed down to some extent due to general elections, natural calamities and political unrest.

She urged the State government to allocate more funds and powers to the civic body as per the 74 {+t} {+h} amendment to the Constitution.

“Besides setting up the Finance Commission, the State government must also pay salaries to the staff of the VMC along with other municipalities and municipal corporations in the State,” she said.

Ms. Ratna Bindu sought release of pending grants, introduction of Mayor-in-council system, filling of vacancies in the VMC, regularisation of temporary staff, steps to prevent inundation due to overflowing of Budameru, financial help to set up land bank in the city, construction of flyovers near Kanakadurga temple and Benz Circle, pensions and gas connections to all the eligible from the State government.

CPI floor leader Donepudi Sankar said that even as the ruling Congress party making claims of unprecedented development, it was taking years together for the VMC to complete minute works like installation of name boards and allocation of meagre amounts to service organisations.

“There is no mechanism to implement the resolutions passed by the council. There are 480 resolutions passed by the council, which are pending with the officials. What is the use of passing resolutions when there is no seriousness among the officials with regard to their implementation?” he asked. TDP floor leader Y.V. Ramana Rao asked whether the budget estimates were prepared in Delhi. “If we remove the JNNURM funds from the estimates, there is nothing from the VMC's side. If there is any delay in the release of funds, all the development activities in the city will come to a standstill,” he said, adding that the actual budget of the VMC was only Rs. 11 crores.