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Mumbai: BMC finally reveals macro expenses on Covid-19

Updated on: 25 November,2023 07:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
A Correspondent |

Large part of Rs 4,150 crore spend was on hospitals and jumbo COVID centres; activist seeks white paper as breakup of spending not made public

Mumbai: BMC finally reveals macro expenses on Covid-19

The largest chunk of expense of R1,466 crore has been incurred on the 13 jumbo facility COVID centres in Mumbai

Even as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally divulged the expenses incurred by it on COVID-19, data show that majority of the expenses were on hospitals and health facilities. As per the information provided by municipal commissioner in response to a Right To Information (RTI) application made by Anil Galgali, the civic body had incurred an expense of Rs 4,150 crore till October 2023 on COVID-19. Though the pandemic has subsided, COVID-19 continues to linger in the air as ED has been doing enquiry of officials and politicians amid corruption allegations.

As per three-page information provided by BMC, out of the R4,150 crore expenditure on COVID-19, BMC spent over 75 per cent on hospitals and health facilities. The largest chunk of expense of Rs 1,466 crore has been incurred on the 13 jumbo facility COVID centres in Mumbai. The second largest expense of Rs 1,245 crore was spent in the 24 civic wards of Mumbai and at the Seven Hill Hospital. The office of the BMC executive health officer spent Rs 233 crore, while the BMC’s five major hospitals — KEM, BYL Nair, LTMG, Cooper and HBT Trauma Centre incurred Rs 197 crore. The six specialty hospitals incurred Rs 25 crore, while the 17 peripheral hospitals spent Rs 90 crore and Rs 1.48 crore by Nair Dental Hospital.

Besides, BMC spent R124 crore on food packets and food grains, Rs 264 crore by the central purchase department, Rs 121 crore by the transport department, R377 crore by mechanical and electrical department, Rs 7 crore by the solid and waste department. BMC received only Rs 9 lakh from the funds of MLAs and MPs to fight COVID. BMC had received Rs 23.90 crore as contributions from the city and suburb collectors towards COVID expenses. RTI activist Anil Galgali submitted an RTI application to the municipal commissioner's office on October 12, 2023. Galgali’s application was subjected to bureaucratic rigmarole with the civic officials tossing the query from one department to another.

The commissioner's office had initially transferred the application to the deputy chief accountant (health). Citing the unavailability of the report on expenses, the deputy chief accountant (health) transferred the application to the deputy commissioner (public health). Thereafter the administrative officer C G Adhari transferred the application to the principal accountant (finance). Finally, accounts officer Rajendra Kakde transferred the application again to the deputy chief accountant (health) on the grounds that the information was not available.

“The news reports regarding the inability of the BMC to provide information on COVID-19 expenses was published. I finally got the information following the intervention of the municipal commissioner I S Chahal,” said Galgali. The information provided by the BMC in its present form does not reveal the break-up of the expenses incurred by the BMC. Therefore Galgali has sought from the BMC a white paper on the COVID-19 expenditure for clarity.

Percentage of expense on hospitals and health facilities

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