Civic body left with little fund for projects after meeting statutory expenses

The cash-strapped Kochi Corporation will request the State government to take the responsibility of paying the salary for employees and pension off its shoulders.

The corporation will approach the State government with this request soon, said a civic administrator.

The Kochi Corporation is left with little funds for undertaking development projects after meeting the statutory expenses including the salary of the employees and pensions for the retired ones. Each month, the civic body requires at least Rs. 3 lakh for paying the salary. Nearly 90 per cent of its own fund is spent for the employees and pensioners, said civic authorities.

Of the nearly Rs. 70 crore received by the Kochi Corporation annually from the government on various heads, Rs. 60 crore is paid out this way. The corporation will also have to pay funds for various activities in the divisions. After meeting all these expenses, there won't be much left with the corporation for taking up development projects, a civic administrator said.

Though the civic authorities of Kochi are not hopeful about the government coming forward to take the pressure off their shoulders, they feel that all the local bodies in the State would share their sentiment.

Incidentally, there were reports that some of the local bodies in the district had to divert funds meant for projects for meeting the salary of its employees. Some others could not pay the salary on the due date as they struggled to raise funds. Some organisations of municipal corporation staff recently went for a one-day strike urging the State government to pay their salaries and pension.

Consultative process

Meanwhile, the Kochi Corporation has started the preparatory works for its next annual budget. Though the budget of the Kochi Corporation will be presented only after the State budget, the corporation has started exhaustive consultation process with various stakeholders.

The civic authorities including Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany and Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra listened to the demands of the various stakeholders at special sessions held over three days last week. Most of the demands were related to the improvement of civic amenities including waste management and the need for new and improved roads. The civic authorities will also meet a few individuals in the coming weeks to obtain inputs for the budget, they said.

The civic administrators maintained that the financial constraints prevented them from fulfilling some of the proposals that were mentioned in the first budget. As many of the projects of the local bodies cannot be completed in one year or two, the pending ones will be taken up in a phased manner. Priority will also be fixed for taking up these projects, a civic administrator said.

  • Each month, the civic body requires at least Rs. 3 lakh for paying the salary

  • Some local bodies had to divert funds meant for projects for meeting the salary of its employees