Tuesday, March 29, 2005

BMP unveils bitter-sweet budget

BMP unveils bitter-sweet budget

While the civic body has mooted an infrastructure levy and solid waste management cess, it also plans more flyovers, subways and skywalks.

Deccan Herald

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s plans for 2005-06 appear to hold out a bitter-sweet promise to Bangaloreans. Bitter in the immediate, as the BMP budget 2005-06 unveiled on Monday has mooted an infrastructure levy and solid waste management cess. Sweet, the potential the future holds in terms of infrastructure, with more flyovers, subways, skywalks and the like proposed by the civic body for the City.

The BMP Budget 2005-06 has a total outlay of Rs 1,569.74 crore. Its proposed levy on infrastructure and the SWM cess are expected to mop up additional revenue of Rs 30 crore. A citizen owning a motor vehicle will pay between Rs 50 and Rs 300 under the infrastructure cess each year and between Rs 10 and Rs 50 (property owners only) under the SWM cess per annum, in addition to property tax. To address the need for better infrastructure, BMP Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance Chairman M K Gunashekar has allocated Rs 627.43 crore for the Project Division. The BMP has proposed to introduce the “corridor concept” and construct four new flyovers, eight grade separators, 13 subways and skywalks and 11 road over-bridges and road under-bridges across the city as part of a long-term plan to decongest the City’s roads. It will divide the city into three corridors — South, West and East — where these projects will be taken up. Though BMP has allocated funds, the funding appears to be meagre for individual projects, and it has not clearly spelt out how it will mobilise the required money if it has to take up the projects immediately. Under the corridor concept, the BMP plans to take up asphalting of busy main roads in the central parts of the City and roads that connect Bangalore with state and national highways at a cost of Rs 103 crore.

Besides, an allocation of Rs 35 crore has been made for desilting and remodelling of storm water drains connected to four major valleys — Rushabavathy, Koramangala, Chalaghatta and Hebbal. Also, Rs 100 crore has been allocated as ward grants for emergency works. The BMP has proposed to develop 200 more parks and has allocated Rs 24 crore for this. Besides, the civic body has proposed to implement the Dr Yellappa Reddy Committee report on protection of the environment. The proposed Freedom Park has an allocation of Rs 2 crore.

It will spend Rs 71.51 crore for the preservation and improvement of the City’s environment and ecology under the “Udhyana Bengaluru” programme. Under this, the BMP will tie up with NGOs to plant saplings. The BMP has set a revenue target of Rs 320 crore from property tax in the coming fiscal against the Rs 300 crore in 2004-05. It plans to conduct “tax adalats”. Steps to augment revenue, including a new database on financial leakage, a wider tax net and simplified payment, have also been proposed.

The BMP will distribute health cards for free medical examinations. Senior citizens enrolled in day care centres will be served free mid-day meals. Four more citizen service centres in each zone have been proposed. An allocation of Rs 1 crore has been made for this.


HIGHLIGHTS

* Rs 627.43 crore for infrastructure
* 4 flyovers, 13 subways and skywalks
* Infrastructure and SWM cess
* CVS for property tax collection
* Development of 200 parks
* Tax Adalat
* New advertisement bye-laws
* 4 more citizen service centres
* 4 more day care centres
* Ward grants increased to Rs 1 crore


NEW FLYOVERS

* Kanakpura Ring Road junction (South Corridor)
* MES Road junction (West)
* Mini flyover near Peenya Dasarahalli Iyappa Temple (West)
* Trinity Circle junction (East)

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