Mumbai: BMC to focus on existing projects in new budget
No grand new projects are expected to be announced, as the civic body is expected to continue with last year's formula and focus on completing ongoing works
The BMC is all set to present its budget in the initial days of February. File pic
Just like last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is unlikely to announce any big-ticket project for the 2018-19 budget. Instead, it will focus on completion of ongoing projects. The civic body is all set to present its budget in the initial days of February. Last year, the Corporation had made the unprecedented move of slashing the budget by Rs 12,000 crore, bringing the 2017-18 layout down to Rs 25,141 crore from the previous year's Rs 37,052-crore budget. Every year, the civic body faces considerable criticism over poor expenditure, prompting the authorities to slash the budget and only propose the completion of ongoing projects and proposed achievable projects. A source from the BMC said, "The budget amount is likely to increase by about Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,500 crore, as this year, too, we will focus on finishing projects that have been in the pipeline for years. The coastal road and Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR) will be on a priority list, as these projects are backed by Shiv Sena as well as BJP."
The official added, "After slashing unnecessary items from the budget, this year, we improved the expenditure rate. As per the data till now, more than 35 per cent of the budget has been spent. Whereas last year, in the corresponding period, expenditure was hardly 20 per cent. It is good to propose projects that can be practically achieved or that we can at least start."
Work on the coastal road is expected to start in April. The GMLR is in for yet another delay, as the BMC has to carry out a biodiversity study of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as per the instructions of the environment ministry. Other projects to be sped up include new cycling tracks along the Tansa pipeline, Brimstowad (the overhaul of storm water drains), and the creation of waste-to-energy plants at the Mulund and Kanjurmarg dumping ground, as well as the closure of the Devnar dumping ground.
Another civic official said, "The budget expenditure has improved due to good planning and time-to-time review of the projects. By the end of the financial year, we will definitely achieve more than 45 per cent expenditure, which could be a benchmark for the administration."
Likely items in budget
* Rs 350-crore cycling tracks along Tansa pipeline
* 300-acre Central Park at Cuffe Parade
* Sports complexes in Eastern and Western suburbs
* Underground parking lots
* Coastal road and Goregaon-Mulund Link Road
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