Saturday, March 25, 2006

BMP budget gives thrust to infrastructure development

BMP budget gives thrust to infrastructure development
Deccan Herald

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on Friday presented a Rs 1,870.83-crore budget for the year 2006-07, with full thrust on infrastructure but without any new taxes.

The poll-year budget presented by Lalitha Srinivas Gowda, chairperson of the Standing Committee and Taxation and Finance, is replete with significant allocations for concrete roads, flyovers, grade separators, railway bridges, pedestrian pathways, traffic management initiatives and a proposal to ban advertisement hoardings.

The budget has left one guessing on reintroduction of vehicle parking fee and revision of annual rental value for property tax collections. As much as 23.25 per cent (Rs 435 crore) of the proposed total expenditure is earmarked for infrastructure upgrading and services to the urban poor under the Jawaharlal Nehru-National Urban Renewal Mission. The same is the BMP’s reciprocal contribution to the Rs 730 crore allocation, which figured in the state budget presented early this week.

The 29.59-km inner core ring road, which is expected to ease traffic congestion in the city’s central business district, has been allocated Rs 30 crore. It was noted that the project, whose estimated cost is Rs 300 crore, would be taken up under public-private partnership and could include an elevated second rung. The BMP has also sought to contribute to the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations by constructing a glass house at a cost of Rs 3 crore within the BMP head office premises and setting up a museum on the history and heritage of Bangalore, at a cost of Rs 5 crore.

With the BMP council due to go for its term-end elections later this year, Friday’s budget is the last from the sitting council.

The budget is surplus by Rs 4.06 crore and at Rs 1,098.83 crore, the capital expenditure proposed for the year is reported to be the highest in recent years. The budget size — Rs 1,870 crore for 2006-07 — is an increase from Rs 972 crore budget the sitting council presented in its first year in 2002-03.

Ward grants have been hiked to Rs 1.5 crore from last year’s Rs 1 crore; mayor’s grant is hiked to Rs 20 crore. Inclusive of the spill-over works, MLAs grant has been retained at Rs 5 crore.


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