Mumbai: Given the 13-digit budget the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced and the fraction it ended up spending, it one may be forgiven if they conclude that the richest municipal corporation in the country doesn’t need really need the riches. Going by its spending during the two time spans, the amount of public work the BMC did in the last two months of the fiscal 2013-14 is comparable to what it carried out in the preceding 10 months.
mid-day had earlier reported how until January-end, merely 25 per cent of the total civic budget of Rs 27,578 crore was used. Now that it is March 31, the BMC has spent more than 45 per cent of the total, the rest remains unused. So while a fourth was consumed in the financial’s first 10 months, roughly another fifth was put to use in February and March.
Again, for the coming fiscal, the municipal commissioner proposed a big budget of Rs 31,178 crore to the standing committee. Many fear this would also remain unused for the first five to six months, owing to the election code of conduct which is currently in effect for the Lok Sabha polls, and later due to the assembly elections. Although, for 2014-15, the budget did not make any new announcements and kept its focus on completing the previous year’s promises.
Leader of opposition in the BMC, Congress’ Devendra Amberkar, said, “This is something unacceptable. If the BMC has funds that can be used, why not use them when there is time; why wait till the last two months? The budget utilised in the last two months is more than what it was in the span of 10 months. And since the corporation has managed to use only 40-45 per cent of the total budget, why announce such huge budgets in the first place?”
Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas, who handles the roads, bridges and SWD departments, said, “We do utilise our funds appropriately, and most of the work is done on the ground-level. But the payments take time, due to which the accounts differ. And it is not that no work was done in the past 10 months. The work is on throughout the year.”
Gone in 60 days
>> BMC road department, which spent Rs 360.39 crore till January, has utilised Rs 594.92 crore in all so far
>> Storm water drains division used up around Rs 300 crore of its budget in the current fiscal’s first 10 months, which has now gone up to Rs 536.83 crore
>> Bridges department seems to have spent the most in the span of the final two months. It expended Rs 68.11 crore till January and Rs 129.89 crore by March
>> There have been some departments – such as the solid waste management, fire and estate - which have not seen any significant change in spending from the first 10 months, during which time, they did not consume much to begin with
BMC’s total budget for 2013-14
Rs 7,000 crore
Amount the BMC spent from its total budget by Jan 25
Rs 12,500 crore
Amount it spent till March 25