Mayor wants a realistic budget, BJP backs him

Closer to the announcement of the annual civic budget, it is now expected that the ruling Shiv Sena wishes to reduce it as per the directions from Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar. Mahadeshwar in a letter to civic chief Ajoy Mehta has requested him to keep the budget within realistic figures and also reduce the additional expenditure on various projects.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has also supported the mayor’s move and demanded a transparent budget.

In his letter, Mahadeshwar stated that the budget is allocated for various development projects but some of these projects have never seen the light of day till date.

“Projects like Coastal Road, Sewage Treatment Plants and Gargai-Pinjal dam need permissions and clearances from the State and Central government. This delays the whole procedure and as a result, the funds allocated are not used for long period of time,” Mahadeshwar stated.

The mayor has therefore suggested the civic body to allocate funds for those projects that can begin work at the ground level with immediate effect. Mahadeshwar told the Free Press Journal, “The budget should be realistic. The BMC should not exaggerate by allocating funds for projects in various departments that cannot be achieved in the near future. In this way, the budget will reduce instead of being presented as an inflated amount.”

The BJP has claimed that the civic body should not fool the people of Mumbai anymore and thus present a transparent budget. Manoj Kotak, BJP group leader, said, “There should be no increase in tax in this budget. The civic body gains sufficient revenue from various taxes so they should be transparent about it and use the money effectively for the benefit of the people.”

According to sources, the budget for 2017-2018 which is likely to be between Rs 37,000 crore to Rs 39,000 crore is expected to be reduced by 25 to 30 per cent. “The BMC should not act like a commercial body which collects taxes, stores it in fixed deposits and earns interests,” Kotak added. The annual civic budget will be announced on March 29.