Mumbai: To fight coronavirus, BMC officials can spend up to Rs 30 crore

Updated: 18 March, 2020 07:48 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, described the process of testing and isolation of suspected patients saying around 2.5 lakh travellers have been tested so far and BMC has increased medical teams to reach more people

Kasturba Hospital has been seeing a sharp rise in the number of people coming to be tested for COVID-19. Pic/Ashish Raje
Kasturba Hospital has been seeing a sharp rise in the number of people coming to be tested for COVID-19. Pic/Ashish Raje

In a special meeting called by the BMC to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the standing committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation gave civic officials the authority to sanction proposals up to R30 crore and more for the purpose. The funds will be used to develop quarantine areas, establish labs, machinery, appoint private doctors, provide medicines, and look out for suspected patients and their contacts.

The civic body, in its attempt to reign in COVID-19, has increased isolation bed facilities and has already spent a few crores. However, according to the BMC Act, all finance-related proposals need sanction from the standing committee, which holds a meeting every week. It takes several weeks to complete the procedure. To avoid this and act urgently, the civic administration gave officials authority to use the funds.

As per the proposal sanctioned by the standing committee, an additional commissioner can spend up to R10 crore or more if necessary to prevent the spread of the disease. In addition, two officers of deputy municipal commissioner level can spend between R1 crore to R5 crore. All assistant commissioners at ward levels and all medical superintendents can spend up to R25 lakh each, while the KEM dean has been given powers to spend R50 lakh. Officers can sanction multiple proposals within the limit and invite tenders if needed.

While all corporators unanimously supported the decision, many suggested improvements in the services provided by the administration. Makrand Narvekar, a BJP corporator, raised concerns over the hygiene and poor state of infrastructure at Kasturba hospital. Prabhakar Shinde, group leader of BJP, asked for up-to-the-mark medical services over weekends. Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, described the process of testing and isolation of suspected patients saying around 2.5 lakh travellers have been tested so far and BMC has increased medical teams to reach more people.

Expenditure allowed

Additional commissioner: Rs 5 cr to 10 cr

Deputy municipal commissioner: Rs 1 cr to 5 cr

Assistant commissioner: Rs 25 lakh

KEM dean: Rs 50 lakh

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First Published: 18 March, 2020 06:48 IST

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