City civic body cash-strapped

The Chennai corporation budget will be a rude shocker for residents of north Chennai as the zone-wise allocations are relatively very low for it, compared to zones in central Chennai and south Chennai.

But corporation officials have one good reason for this as most parts of north Chennai – the old part of the city - with narrow roads and minimal open space reduce the scope for major development activities.

The corporation budget has swelled by over Rs 1,000 crore, compared to the previous budgets.

Though the corporation size has swelled by three times, the budget allocation has just doubled, confirming the fact that the civic body is hit by severe financial crunch.

According to data, the civic body would be a spending Rs 578 crore for developing zone-wise amenities.

For zones in north Chennai, Rs 121 crore is allotted followed by central and south Chennai zones where a whopping Rs 167 crore and Rs 290 crore are to be spent during the current fiscal.

According to confidential sources, a majority of the revenue receipts earned by the corporation through its property and professional taxes is spent on staff salary and maintenance of corporation properties.

After the implementation of the sixth pay commission during the previous DMK regime, the balancesheet of the civic body is not flowery.

With chief minister J. Jayalalithaa keen on improving Chennai into a mega city, the government funds are now flowing freely or otherwise the situation would be very difficult, particularly after the recent merger of 42 local bodies in the corporation limit, a senior corporation engineer opined.

Most of the funds come in from the Jawaharalal Nehru national urban renewal mission and the state government.

For almost the past seven years there has been no tax revision and this has taken a toll on the corporation budget, sources explained.

According to Mr Bhimrao, legislator, Maduravoyal constituency, the budget has announced maternity hospitals for Valasaravakkam and Perungudi and it is a good initiative.

Key areas like traffic congestion, solid waste management and interior roads need more impetus and the budget has failed to provide adequate schemes for these areas, added the CPM MLA.

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