₹1 crore earmarked for each division to carry out development works
The Kochi Corporation council approved the budget for the 2021-22 financial year on Tuesday.
If the District Planning Committee (DPC) directs the corporation to revise the budget after including approved People’s Plan projects, the council will consider the matter then, said Mayor M. Anilkumar.
The Opposition had written to the DPC demanding a revision of the budget since projects under the People’s Plan for the next financial year had been included in the budget without the DPC’s and council’s prior approval. A response from the DPC is awaited.
A few additions were made to the budget yielding to demands made by the Opposition. After councillors in the Opposition demanded on Monday that additional funds be made available for each division, Deputy Mayor K.A. Ansiya announced at the council meeting held on Tuesday that ₹1 crore will be made available for work in each division. These projects for individual divisions will be vetted by the Works Standing Committee before the tendering process is initiated.
The Opposition had also lamented the exclusion of any project for Kokers Theatre in the budget. Prime land in Fort Kochi had been lost to the wilderness since no efforts were made to use the Kokers Theatre property, the Opposition had said. Ms. Ansiya announced that ₹50 lakh would be set aside for work on the Kokers Theatre building and premises with assistance from the State government.
An amount of ₹1 crore has been allocated for work around the Fort Kochi beach, including maintenance of the beach, and the preparation of a specific project to deal with the issues of area including waste management, and setting up toilets. The budget presentation had mentioned the beach but left a conspicuous blank while announcing the allocation.
Explaining the corporation’s financial situation, Mayor M. Anilkumar said that the Plan Fund allocation had fallen this year since the corporation was required to pay for land that was acquired at Brahmapuram when the dumping yard was constituted there. The State government had paid to acquire the land. But the property was registered with the corporation and the civic agency was required to return the amount to the government. This amount was being deducted from the Plan Fund. Around ₹69 crore was received as the grant of the 14th Finance Commission last year, but an allotment is yet to be made this year, he said.
After councillors appeared sceptical over promises in the budget suggesting housing for more people, Mr. Anilkumar said that the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) had agreed to hand over around 2 acres in its possession to the corporation for housing projects.
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