If those well-versed with the financial nitty-gritty of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) are to be believed,the Barodians are going to pay close to Rs 226 crore worth additional taxes in the present financial year.
Apart from the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission,it is also the lethargy on part of the civic officials that has resulted into above rate tendering of various
projects,which are a part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
According to the JNNURM scheme,30 per cent of the total project cost is supposed to be paid by the VMC,while the remaining 70 per cent is divided into 50 per cent and 20 per cent among the Centre and state governments,respectively. But the difference between the Schedule of Rates (SoR) and the actual cost of project is huge and that is where the losses are incurred by the the civic body. With no other way to bridge this gap,it will be the citizens who will have to cough up the money in form of increased as well as
new taxes,” said a senior official with the accounts branch of VMC.
The VMC submitted several projects when the JNNURM was introduced in 2005. However,the laidback attitude in implementing and executing the projects led to this financial imbalance.
The Centre releases funds only after they are satisfied with the progress in the projects. In case of VMC,there were several projects where the work progress was not satisfactory. Moreover,the steep rise in steel and cement prices last year led to an increase in the project cost. There were certain other factors,which went against the rapid implementation of the projects. Eventually the gap between the project cost at the time of submission and execution increased dramatically, said the official.
There are fair chances that while other municipal corporations in Surat and Ahmedabad,where JNNURM projects have been successfully implemented,will not levy additional taxes on the citizens and the VMC will end up imposing hefty taxes on Barodians.