Requests state govt to make MCGM single planning authority for integrated development of city
Geetanjali Minhas | February 4, 2021 | Mumbai
With Covid-19 putting huge strains on the city’s health care system, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), one of the richest civic bodies in Asia, has allocated a major chunk of its expenditure towards health, infrastructure and amenities development proposing no new taxes or charges. It will spend Rs 39,038.83 crore in 2021-22, an increase of 16.74% over the earlier estimated budget of Rs 33,441.02 crores for 2020-21.
In a major step, the Shiv Sena-controlled corporation has asked the state government of Maharashtra to authorise and declare MCGM as a single planning authority for the integrated planning and development of Mumbai city immediately. At present multiple agencies are tasked with planning of the city which leads to conflicts and impediments at various levels for smooth implementation measures. According to BMC commissioner IS Chahal, the proposal is under active consideration of the state government and expected to be cleared soon.
Cuffe Parade and Marine Drive areas in south Mumbai, today under the Mumbai metropolitan region development authority (MMRDA), will be handed over to the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC), as part of the plan.
The BMC budget, presented on Wednesday, provides an outlay of total capital expenditure of is Rs 18,750.00 crore to upgrade infrastructure and amenities and revenue expenditure, i.e., money needed on the administrative side of civic machinery is Rs 20,276.33. The ratio of capital expenditure to the revenue expenditure for 2021-22 is 48:52 against last year’s ratio of 35:65.
Out of the Rs 4,728.53 crore allocated for health infrastructure, Rs 75 crore each will be spend on redevelopment of Bhagwati and Sion hospitals, Rs 2 crore for construction of cancer hospital for proton therapy, Rs 75 crore for expansion of MT Agarwal hospital, Rs 71.88 crore for extension to Nair Dental College, Rs 75 crore for construction of Centenary hospital at Govandi, Rs 31 crore for construction of Tata compound hostel building, Rs 20 crore for expansion of KB Bhabha hospital at Bandra, Rs 20 crore for upgradation of Plasma Centre at KEM hospital and Rs 75 crore is proposed to be spent on construction of medical college building at RN Cooper hospital.
For upgrading infrastructure and providing amenities BMC will spend Rs 1,600 crore on improvement of roads, Rs 2,000 crore on the coastal road project, Rs 1,300 crore on Goregaon-Mulund link road (GMLR), Rs 1,339.94 crore on sewerage treatment project (STP), Rs 280 crore on widening/training of Mithi river and other river/nalla system in Brihanmumbai phase II and III, Rs 100 crore on construction of pumping stations (Mogra, Mahul), Rs 50 crore on rejuvenation of rivers and Rs 30 crore for modernisation of Deonar Abattior. Rs 500 crore has been set aside for its Ashray Yojana for redevelopment and affordable housing of its conservancy workers.
BMC will also undertake development of a solar power project at the Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray middle Vaitarna dam, upgradation of five hospitals, 12 bridges over railway and six new bridges.
It will construct and develop 149 footpaths of 160 km length, 128 traffic islands, 42 out of 344 spaces under flyover and bridges of approximately 19 km, 108 community toilets and 20,301 public toilets will be completed by December 31, 2021. Additionally, five gardens in each ward will be upgraded and beatified, aesthetic painting of walls and food hubs at 65 locations having approximate capacity of 3,331 vendors in total length of 11 km and operational from 6 pm to 11 pm will be done. For BEST buses it has set aside Rs 50 crore and financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh will be provided to the family of every deceased employee in case of death due to Covid-19 while discharging duty.
Chahal also said that Birla Krida Kendra will be redeveloped and renamed ‘Marathi Bhoomi Kaladaan’ at an estimated cost of Rs 175 crore and an Aquarium and Marine Research Centre of international standards will be constructed at a cost of Rs 500 crore. “These projects will be funded by the state government and implemented by MCGM. Additionally the BMC will set up a ‘Climate Change Department’ and construct a ‘Dabbewala Bhavan’ in central Mumbai for its famous dabbawallas. To decongest the city’s defacing skyline due to increasing no. of hoardings it will implement the New Hoarding Policy.”
BMC also aims to change the common perception towards MCGM schools and bring them on par with CBSE/ICSE Board for which it has allocated Rs 2,945.78cr towards primary Education. It plans to open 10 new CBSE schools and rename its 963 upper primary schools and 224 secondary municipal schools as Mumbai Public School (MPS), while keeping the original name of school and adding its own suffix. It will also develop 20 playgrounds out of 63 playgrounds in a phase-wise manner.
Further, the BMC will bifurcate wards with large areas. P/North Ward will be merged with P/East and P/West Ward and same is also being considered for K/East and L wards
Steps will be taken to prevent flooding. The BMC will fix 120 flooding spots before the onset of monsoon 2021. Work on 29 spots will be started this year and completed before the next monsoon, i.e., 2022. 22 spots for which detailed planning is underway will be tackled in the near future. For 44 flooding spots which belong to other authorities and private owners the civic body is coordinating to prevent flooding in these spots. Out of the total 386 chronic flooding spots in MCGM area 171 spots have been already fixed, according to BMC.
To address the problem of flooding on a long term basis an international consultant is being finalised before April 2021. The MCGM has spent about Rs 1,391 crore in the recent past and in the current year 54 tenders have been finalised amounting to Rs 535 crore for which it says work will start on war footing in the month of February 2021. It is finalising nine desilting tenders for major rivers and nullas amounting to Rs180 crore. The work on these will start in the month of February 2021.
Rs 1,955.86 crore have been allocated for the Mumbai sewerage disposal project, Rs 562.17 crore for the hydraulic engineers department, Rs 213 crore for the major pipeline work, Rs 275.39 crore for the Mumbai sewerage improvement programme, Rs 319 crore for water conveyance tunnels, Rs 168.76 crore for sewerage operations and Rs 6 crore has been allocated towards the hybrid energy power project.
To enhance municipal revenue periodically, revise fees and charges it is considering setting up a fee revision authority. A statistical analysis system (SAS) is being implemented to get analytical reports of demand, collection and outstanding in real time. Additionally fire service fees will also be levied as per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006 after a gazette notification by the state government.
To augment BEST buses, bring in administrative reforms and for operational and financial efficiency buses a consultant is being appointed by MCGM who will design a medium term business plan to revive its financial position. BEST will clear pending gratuity dues of its 3,649 BEST employees by providing them loans of Rs 406 crore at nominal interest rate.
The BMC’s major sources of revenue for 2021-22 are grants-in-aid on account of compensation in lieu of octroi Rs 10,583.08 crore, property tax Rs 7,000 crore, DP department Rs 2,000 crore, income from interest on investments Rs 975.56 crore and water and sewerage charges Rs 1,598.08 crore. It received Rs.8154cr as octroi compensation from government till January 2021 and expects to receive a total of Rs 9,799 crore by March 31, 2021. The municipality expects to receive its outstanding dues of Rs 5,274 crore by the state government and Rs 1,600 crore by SRA. It expects to offset the reduction in revenue collection from property tax and DP charges in 2021-22 due to Incentive Policy announced by the govt and return of economy to normalcy.
At present its major development funds projects are being carried out through its reserves in infrastructure development fund, assets replacement fund and surplus fund.
BJP leader Ashish Shelar said the BMC is trying to showcase the budget as development-friendly because municipal elections are around the corner. Questioning its motive to increase the budget when there has been a shortfall in income, he said, “When the BMC is taking internal reserved loans of Rs 10,000 crore and planning to raise the money through private equity bonds and when they have not been able to achieve property tax collections leading to a loss of more than Rs 3,000 crore why did they raise the budget size by more than 16%? This is a statistical lie. With 1.40 crore of Mumbai city’s population, you are only wanting to spend Rs 1,000 crore. Secondly, comparing the previous tender of the sewerage treatment plan with that of this year and checking the cost of per MLD sewerage treatment, the cost has doubled in a year. This is evidence that there corruption.”
Leader of opposition and Congress corporator Ravi Raja said the budget has showcased dreams to Mumbai’s people that cannot be fulfilled. “They did not spend more than 52% of last budget and the balance amount is unspent and lapsed. In the case of health budget, they spent Rs 3,000 crore on Covid and Rs 500 crore has lapsed. With the shortage of Rs 10,000 crore income in this year where will they get this money from two months as to dip into reserves is dangerous? There was no need to increase the budget by more than Rs 8,000 crore when there has been a dip in income. This is only to show a rosy picture to Mumbaikars.”
Mumbai, once the epicentre of the pandemic in India, has emerged as a model for all others in mitigating the crisis. The supreme court on Wednesday said the central government should adopt and take lessons from the Mumbai model to manage liquid medical oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients in Delhi.
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