The cash-strapped Democratic Front government has shown unexpected generosity by allocating Rs 106.97 crore to civic bodies across the state, of which Rs 15.13 crore has been doled out to the capital city’s civic body, the BMC. But here comes the catch: the money has been offered on the condition that it will be used before the end of the current financial year – by March 31, that is. What’s more, it has to be used exclusively for the development of the city’s roads.
This means that the BMC has little over a month to use up Rs 15.13 crore on the city’s roads. The directive mentions that the BMC is expected to submit a utilisation certificate before the current fiscal ends, to avoid incurring the wrath of the government. The state directive, a copy of which is with this newspaper, clearly says that the municipal corporation should forward the fund utilisation certificates to the accountant general (Mumbai and Nagpur) with a copy to the government by the end of the current financial year.
The grant for roads was actually part of a budgetary provision made for the financial year 2011-12. But the state, facing a severe financial crisis for the last few years along with a debt of Rs 2.7 lakh crore, failed to allocate the amount in that year. But while it has taken its own sweet time to allocate the funds, the government expects the civic bodies to use them before the current fiscal is over. The funds have been distributed over 257 civic bodies across the state. The BMC officials appeared blissfully ignorant about the conditions laid down by the state government for use of the funds.
Ram Dhas, BMC’s chief accountant (Finance), said, “The Rs 15 crore that the corporation has received is out of the Rs 2,200 crore that was expected from the state government and have been allocated under the broad heading of roads. There are various other categories like bridges and traffic that come under roads, so we will channel it wherever required. This money need not necessarily be used before March 31, it can be used according to the tenders floated.”