Saturday, March 29, 2008

Citizens spared burden of cess

Citizens spared burden of cess

Like every year, the BBMP budget 2008-09 too has some of the spillover projects from the previous budgets coupled with a handful of new projects. The silver lining is that the budget has not imposed any kind of new cess on citizens.
With boosting infrastructure and connectivity high on agenda, BBMP has announced widening of 91 roads running up to 144 km across the city in a phased manner. Land for widening will be acquired through Transferable Development Rights (TDR) scheme. Widening of four roads — Bellary, Race course, Palace and Seshadri Road — will be completed by the year-end.
In addition, some of the roads — Kasturba Road, Nrupatunga, Airport Road, Mysore Road, Padarayanapura Main Road, Lower Agaram, Sarjapur, Hennur, Banaswadi, Wheeler Road and other will be taken up for which Rs 40 crore has been earmarked.
Construction of Road Over Bridges (ROB) and Road Under Bridges (RUB) across railway lines in collaboration with railway authorities will also be taken up. Some of the locations are — Hoodi Devasandra (across Jolarpet-Chennai railway line), Allalasandra, Bapujinagar Pipeline, Jalahalli MES, Virupakshapura, Srirampuram and Gangappa-Narasimhaiah compound in Binnypet.
Expediting remodelling of storm water drains such as Vrishbhavathi, Koramangala, Challghatta and Hebbal valleys at Rs 204 crore is also proposed.
Renovation and remodelling of Vrishabhavathi storm water drain on the lines of Sabarmati River valley development project in Ahmedabad by preventing entry of sewerage water into the drain is on the cards. Thirteen sewage treatment plants will be set up to treat sewage water before letting it into the drain. The allocation is pegged at Rs 60 crore.
To augment landfill capacity for disposal of solid waste, BBMP has entered into an MoU with Terrafirma to process 1,000 metric tones of waste per day at Doddaballapur. Landfill at Rajarajeshwarinagar near Kumbalgod to dispose dry waste will be operationalised from September.
Essence of the budget
There is an urgent need to improve infrastructure in terms of better roads, water supply and drainage system, more parking facilities for vehicles, better illumination of streets, scientific disposal of solid waste and greater green coverage. All these require investment of a much higher order than is available.
However, a recent report of RBI on Municipal Finance in India indicates that per capita revenue of Bangalore, compared to other major cities, is the lowest. There is a mismatch between the resources required to keep up the growth of Bangalore, especially after formation of BBMP, and the resources available.
BBMP as a provider of civic services to the citizens is continually faced with the huge challenge of bridging this resource gap. This budget attempts to address the critical needs of the city and find the required resources.
In keeping with the Vision Statement of Bangalore as envisaged in the City Development Plan, the BBMP budget envisages consolidation of the new zones and 110 villages through a unified administrative structure and standardized service delivery. The thrust areas for 2008-09 will be improved city infrastructure, cleaner and greener environment, basic services for the urban poor and better services for improved quality of life for all.


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