OTHERS

Budget envisages more flyovers, subways

BANGALORE, MARCH 17. More flyovers, railway under-bridges and subways; health smart cards for 20,000 economically weak families ensuring them free medical facilities in hi-tech hospitals; a comprehensive development plan to upgrade slums; an effective garbage clearance system and more parks. These are some of the highlights of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike's (BMP) budget for 2005-2006.

These and more schemes, including continuation of the existing ones, will be announced in the budget for 2005-2006 to be presented by the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Taxation and Finance, M.K. Gunashekar. The dates have been tentatively fixed as March 25 or March 28. The estimated outlay this time is likely to be lesser than the last year's. Sources said the outlay was estimated at Rs. 1,035 crores with an opening balance of Rs. 726.36 crores. It was Rs. 1,285 crores last year.

The Mayor's discretionary quota of Rs. 11.37 crores will be merged with the Rs. 10 crores Central Reserve Fund (CRF) and each of the 100 corporators will be allotted Rs. 2 lakhs annually for immediate redressal of civic and medical grievances of the citizens in their wards.

The sources told The Hindu on Thursday that the focus is on a more "greener Bangalore" this time. The allocation for development and maintenance of parks has been increased from Rs. 3 crores to Rs. 6 crores this year.

A multi-purpose commercial complex similar to the World Trade Centre will be constructed at the cost of Rs. 2 crores at the BMP head office, the sources said.

According to the draft budget estimates, the property tax target is over Rs. 310 crores. This is apart from the Rs. 40 crores expected through the new levy of infrastructure cess and solid waste management cess. Though the civic body expected to collect Rs. 300 crores as tax in 2004-2005, it has managed to collect Rs. 238 crores.

Parking fee

Though the Mayor, R. Narayanaswamy, has announced that the pay and park scheme would be scrapped from April 1, the budget estimates show that the civic body expects a revenue of Rs. 8 crores from parking fee.

Revenue of Rs. 70 crores is expected through advertisements. This includes tax on hoardings on BMP land, private land, toilets, traffic signs, police kiosks, bulk shops, bulk neon signs, bus shelters and traffic signage.

The BMP will draw Rs. 7.5 crores from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation's (HUDCO) loan for upgrading the Central Park on the old jail premises. This is Rs. 2.5 crores more than last year.

The civic body will repay over Rs. 99 crores to HUDCO and the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC) towards loans. This is apart from the interest of Rs. 41.50 crores on the loans. A new loan of Rs. 110 crores will be taken from the World Bank this year, the sources said.

The BMP expects over Rs. 10 crores from fees and fines for regularising building deviations. This includes compounding fees, building licence fees, development charges and registration fees.

Flyovers

The sources said that the new flyovers would come up on Kanakapura Road and Ring Road Junction, near Bharath Talkies, near Shivaji Talkies, Yeshwanthpur Junction, Trinity Circle and Urvashi cinema, Siddaiah Road to Lalbagh South Entrance.

The railway underbridges will come up near Bapujinagar-RPC Layout, Ganagondanahalli, Khoday Circle and Mathikere and the subways will be built near the Housing Board Colony in Govindarajanagar, connecting Vijaynagar Maruti Bande and Vijaynagar Bus Stand, near the BMP head office, in 1st block Rajajinagar — Da. Ra. Bendre Road near Vidyavardhaka School Circle.

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