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Island city's population shrinks, so do funds

With negative growth in population of the Mumbai island city, state tightens purse strings

The talk of Mumbai development sounds hollow when facts suggest otherwise, and more so in the case of the island city, whose demand for additional funds stands rejected. 

The District Planning And Development Committee (DPDC) for Mumbai, chaired by district guardian minister Jayant Patil, will not get required funds to carry out some basic works in the island city for the financial year 2012-13. And this would be the third continuous year when the demand for funds has been rejected by the authorities.



The DPDC, in a meeting on Saturday, approved a development budget plan of Rs 78.24 crore for the island city, while the demand was Rs 97.31 crore. According to the state ceiling it should not go beyond Rs 52.45 crore.

Patil accepted that there is in fact a rising trend of dwindling funds and it was due to the shrinking population. According to the provisional Census 2011 data, the island city has recorded a dip in population from 33.26 lakh in 2001 to 31.45 lakh.

The decision of the committee, which also comprises MLAs and MLCs from the district and representatives from the public, to approve a budget that exceeds the state ceiling can be viewed as a necessity, said a member.

According to a senior official from the finance and planning department, the budget for the basic development of the city district should not be reduced, but the records say otherwise. As per the official, the island city plays host to millions of people everyday, who come to offices, colleges, hospitals, shopping areas, tourist places, schools and colleges from other districts.

In fiscal year 2008-09, the annual development budget, approved by the state government was Rs 64 crore, which came down to Rs 48 crore in 2009-10 and slightly improved for 2010-11 with Rs 51 crore, said an official from the city district collectorate.

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