Blame the BMC if this time you have to pay more for petrol or diesel because in its budget estimates presented on Wednesday, the civic body has sought to increase the octroi levied on crude oil from 3% to 4.5%. This means crude oil brought into the city will now be charged more octroi and if the companies decide to lay its burden on consumers, then prices are set to rise. The budget will now have to be approved by the general assembly.
The BMC came out with its annual budget estimates on Wednesday with a good 10% increase from last year keeping an eye on 2017 civic election. The budget for 2016-17 fiscal is Rs 37,052 crore, about Rs 3,000 crore more than last year. Last year's annual estimated budget was Rs 33,500 crore. Of the increased expenditure, Rs 1000 crore have been earmarked for the coastal road alone.
The budget for roads, bridges, health, education and other services have also been increased to some extent. In order to offset its decreased revenue from some sources, the BMC may even consider charging outstation patients taking treatment in civic hospitals more. Besides, they are still considering the heavily opposed property tax on slums.
"The focus of this year's budget is on improving healthcare, giving facilities to the urban poor, bringing about accountability in the functioning of BMC etc. We have made adequate provisions accordingly," said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.
“Due to the drastic reduction in prices of crude oil, the octroi recovered from the import of crude oil has been declining since the last 2 years and in current financial year by approx Rs 600 crore. As such it is proposed to increase the rate of octroi on crude oil from 30% to 4.5% which will fetch an additional revenue of Rs 500 crore at current price,” the budget statement reads.
When asked if this will affect the prices of petrol in the city, Mehta said, “That depends on the companies, if they want to lay the burden on consumers.”
Roads : The budget for city roads saw the highest outlay, that of Rs 4,554.47 crore from Rs 3,874 crore last year. Apart from the coastal road, Rs 1,340 crore has been set aside for concretization of roads such as M G Road, Tardeo Road, part of Acharya Donde Marg, part of G D Ambekar Marg, Achyutrao Patwardhan Road, etc. As reported by mid day earlier, 122 city junctions will be improved at a cost of Rs 200 crore approx.
Bridges: The much-awaited GMLR has a provision of Rs 130 crore this year since it will be crucial for east-west connectivity. Besides, a Rs 81 crore flyover on the Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link road is proposed. The 2.1 km flyover will cover three major junctions, viz, Shivaji Nagar, Bainganwadi and Deonar dumping ground junction.
Storm water drains: This year, the BMC has set aside Rs 1,408 crore for this department, which is responsible for the implementation of the Brimstowad. A provision of Rs 233.13 crore has been made for Brimstowad alone, which involves calling bids for two new pumping stations -- Mahul and Mogra.
Health: A whopping Rs 3,693.74 crore have been set aside for urban healthcare. The BMC will be filling 236 posts of faculty and 1976 posts of nurses for its medical colleges and hospitals. A Rs 4.87 crore Thalassemia Treatment centre is proposed at Borivali. Construction of new hostels extension of Nair dental college building, construction of Kasturba Red Cross hospital at Borivali, milk bank, and nutrition programme are some of the proposed expenses.
Education: This year’s estimate is Rs 2,394 crore as against Rs 2,500.89 crore last year. This includes the controversial Tablet facility to municipal school students at a cost of Rs 14 crore, construction of toilets, setting up computer labs, science lab, education material, etc. The interesting initiative this year is setting up of a toy library for its 504 Balwadis and also the concept of ‘sister schools.’ This means, expert teachers from private schools will come and teach municipal school students by dedicating 2 hours a week.
Fire Brigade: Total budget for this year is Rs 581.58 crore. Last year, it was Rs 471.29 crore. 16 new fire engines will replace old ones at a cost of Rs 16.65 crore. Command centres at Borivali, Vikhroli and Byculla proposed at a cost of Rs 10 crore. Also, personal protective equipment for firemen at a cost of Rs 46.75 crore, and three turn table ladders for rescue operations at a cost of Rs 32 crore.
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